MANILA - A new free mobile phone app opens up and gives farmers and fisherfolk nationwide access to latest weather and climate information from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
Launched by the state weather bureau in Metro Manila, the mobile app, called "Payong PAGASA," features the latest data, assessment, and forecast for rainfall and temperature, monthly climate assessment and outlook, as well as daily and 10-day weather forecasts and advisories that farmers and fisherfolk can use to better plan their activities for agriculture and fisheries.
“The app will help facilitate access to Pagasa’s information," geographic information system specialist, Guia Marie Mortel, of non-government group Food and Agriculture Organization Philippines said on the sidelines of the launching Friday.
She said that through the app, people could readily access the necessary weather information using their Android smartphones, eliminating the need for computers.
FAO and the Department of Agriculture are working on several projects that consider weather and climate information from Pagasa, she said.
Among such projects is integrating agriculture in the country’s national adaptation plans, she said.
Authorities continue promoting initiatives that seek to help the Philippines better adapt to climate change.
Studies show the Philippines is among the countries most vulnerable to impacts of climate change, such as the increasing onslaught of extreme weather events and sea level and temperature rise.
Improving access to Pagasa’s information would help boost agricultural production amid climate change, DA chief agriculturist Christopher Morales said.
“Agriculture is the most weather-dependent sector,” he said at an earlier forum in Metro Manila, highlighting Pagasa information’s importance to food production.
Pagasa Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section officer-in-charge Analiza Solis said people could download the app from the Google Play Store.
Solid said the app would be available on Apple’s iOS in about two weeks.
“People can opt to change the app’s language from English to Filipino," she also said at the launch.
She invited people to provide feedback on the app, so Pagasa can further improve this software.
People can use the app’s interactive maps to find weather and climate information for specific locations, Pagasa science research specialist Marc Abiva said.
“That can be done as long as they have an internet connection," he said.
The software’s launch was among the activities for the 2018 Philippine celebration of both the National Meteorological Day and World Meteorological Day, on the theme “Weather-ready, climate-smart”.
“We're looking forward to further enhancing Pagasa’s capabilities," the weather bureau's science chief, Fortunato de la Peña, said, adding that such enhancement would help Pagasa and the country become even more weather-ready and climate-smart.
Pagasa Administrator Vicente Malano said the agency would continue with its bid to modernize.
He said such bid includes installing more radars, so PagasA can have 20 of these by 2020, enabling the agency to better monitor meteorological conditions nationwide.
The World Meteorological Organization set this year’s WMD theme to highlight the role of national meteorological services, like Pagasa, in providing inputs for decisions like those for agriculture, fisheries, and water management.
“Now, more than ever, we need to be weather-ready, climate-smart, and water-wise,” WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas said.
Tropical cyclones, storm surges, droughts, and other hazards continue to threaten the world’s increasing population, Taalas warned.
“The dramatic reduction in lives lost due to severe weather events in the last 30 years has been largely attributed to significant increase in the accuracy of weather forecasting and warnings and improved coordination with disaster management authorities," he said.
He said WMO is collaborating with national meteorological and hydrological services worldwide to establish a global and standardized multi-hazard alert system.
Such system’s establishment aims to help better protect life, limb, and property from climate, weather and water-related events, he said.*PNA
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