Published: January 13, 2014
Typhoon Agaton, The country’s typhoon belt has shifted from northern Luzon to the Visayas, an official of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) has acknowledged.
In a training workshop on “Environmental Leadership in Climate Change Adaptation” held in Los Baños last year, CCC Commissioner Naderev Sano noted the changing pattern of typhoon occurrences in the country from northern Luzon to the Visayas, including southern Luzon, Masbate, Romblon, Boracay, Iloilo and northern Palawan.
The Visayas, along with outlying areas, is again in the path of the first low-pressure area to hit the country this year. The low-pressure area will be named Agaton if it intensifies into a tropical depression.
Last Nov. 8 Super Typhoon Yolanda cut a wide swath of devastation in Eastern Visayas, particularly in Leyte and Samar, the two main islands. Other regions near the Visayas and northeastern Mindanao, Bicol and Palawan were also affected.
Sano noted that while the frequency – about 20 typhoons a year – remains the same, there are now five to six typhoons that are stronger, with wind speeds of about 220 kilometers per hour, compared to two or three strong storms previously.
“And they bring a lot of rain,” he said, citing a Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) projection that the rainy season will be up to 60 percent wetter while the dry season will be 60 percent dryer.
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 “These are characteristics of climate change as warmer oceans generate stronger storms. Ocean temperatures of less than 27 degrees Celsius would not generate a typhoon but the hotter it is, the higher the probability of typhoon,” he said.
He said the Western Pacific Ocean, where most typhoons come from, and even the West Philippine Sea, average 32 degrees Celsius, so there is a larger possibility of more storms.
Unlikely to develop into a storm
PAGASA weather forecaster Glaiza Escullar said in an interview over ANC that the low-pressure area is not expected to develop into a storm because of the northeast monsoon.
As of 4 p.m. yesterday, PAGASA said the low-pressure area was estimated at 250 kilometers southeast of General Santos City.