THE Philippine climate is poised to become warmer and more unpredictable, a report by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) stated.
The agency produced an updated set of projections on temperature and rainfall changes by 2050 and 2100, given the recent impacts of climate change in the country in a nearly one-degree warmer world.
"Observed current impacts in the country are already seen to highly affect the economy, as well as other things such as settlement and infrastructure, health and well-being, and natural ecosystems albeit the proper attribution to climate change being very limited," said Lourdes Tibig, one of the scientist-authors of the report.
The study revealed that the country is warming by 0.1 degree Celsius every decade and this number would continue to rise in the future.
In a scenario marked by high carbon emissions, the warming could reach up to 1.2 to 2.3 degrees Celsius by 2050 and from 2.5 to 4.1 degree Celsius by 2100.
While all regions will experience similar warming, the impacts will vary by locale. For instance, the planting and harvesting patterns of farmers in Central Luzon might be severely affected by warmer environments. In urban areas, demand for refrigerators and air-conditioning units could increase to cope with warmer environments.
Meanwhile, rainfall patterns will change, with variations depending on the region and season. Drier conditions throughout the year would be experienced in most of Mindanao by 2050, indicating an increased chance of droughts. These areas are reliant on stable water supply for agricultural production and energy generation, being hit the hardest by the El Niño-enhanced event of 2015-16.
In contrast, Aastern Visayas and the Bicol region, which are frequently hit by tropical cyclones, would become more prone to flooding and storm surges during these months. The city of Tacloban in Leyte and surrounding communities notably experienced the most destructive impacts of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013.
Under a high-emissions scenario, the number of tropical cyclones affecting the Philippines may decrease, yet their intensity would probably increase.
Sea level rise would reach up to 20 centimeters by 2050, potentially displacing entire coastal communities to more inland areas and causing more pressure on the country's natural resources.
These findings highlight the urgency of reducing carbon emissions to achieve the 1.5-degree limit under the Paris climate agreement in both industrialized and developing countries. It also stresses the importance for national and local government units to formulate and implement climate change adaptation plans to increase community resilience to future disasters and other impacts.
"Care should be exercised in deciding how to interpret the ranges of changes in each of the climate variables. Local community-based observations can and should be used to calibrate the projected changes," Tibig said.
Below is the complete report.
(John Leo C. Algo/Contributor)