PAGASA launches P57-M project to improve weather forecasting

By Helen Flores, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 22 2013 07:48 AM | Updated as of Mar 22 2013 03:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s weather forecasting system will soon become fully automated with the launching of a P57-million weather prediction project yesterday.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) had recently acquired the numerical weather prediction model COSMO from Germany, according to administrator Nathaniel Servando.

He said the software would be used in the agency’s five field offices in Tuguegarao City (Northern Luzon), Legazpi City, Albay (Southern Luzon), Mactan, Cebu (Visayas), El Salvador, Misamis Oriental (Mindanao) and Quezon City (National Capital Region).

“The manual analysis is almost the same as the electronically generated facts. Eventually we will minimize manual map analysis,” Servando said in a press conference during the observance of the 63rd World and 148th National Meteorological Day.

The PAGASA official said the project specifically aims to improve localized weather forecasting.

“We started making localized weather forecast like in Legazpi, they have been issuing forecasts. The rainfall warning system introduced in Metro Manila was recently operational in the regional centers in Mindanao and Legazpi,” he said.

“The Visayas regional center issues localized forecasts on a daily basis, focusing on provinces covered by the radar. The localized forecasts focus on the probability of rainfall, possible occurrence of thunderstorms, and specific areas that could be hit by a typhoon,” he added.

The COSMO is one of the latest in terms of digital forecasting. Weather observers and forecasters in the regions are currently undergoing training on the use of the new system.

Rolymer Canillo, project proponent of the Visual Weather System and COSMO Numerical Model, said the equipment was provided for free by the German government to developing countries like the Philippines.

However, Vicente Malano, PAGASA deputy administrator for operations and services, said total operation and maintenance costs of COSMO could reach P57 million.