THE Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) weather station in Davao has recently acquired a new weather forecasting instrument that would gather pertinent atmospheric data for improved forecasting.

Called as the ‘radiosonde’ or commonly known as the weather balloon. It is an upper air observation instrument which could gather upper air data like wind speed, wind direction, temperature, relative humidity and atmospheric pressure.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

The information culled from the flight of the weather balloon will then be sent to the weather forecasting center in Manila to be analyzed and the results will be relayed back to Davao.

Gerry Pedrico, regional director of Pagasa, said the balloon is flown every 8 a.m. for data gathering. In this way, they can better predict the onset of weather disturbances like heavy rains or storms.

The balloon including the instruments in it costs around P9-million. Per flight expenses is pegged at P30,000.

The added equipment is also part of Pagasa's disaster mitigation measures, especially with the onset of rainy seasons. Part of Pagasa's role as a member of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC).

Pagasa together with the RDCC is currently observing the month-long celebration of the National Disaster Consciousness Month this July, which carries the theme "Pag-Alerto, Malaya sa Peligro". (PIA/RG Alama)