by Danny O. Calleja
LEGAZPI CITY — The weather bureau of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will start commissioning next month the newly installed Doppler radar system in Bicol that would boost the country’s scientific weather forecasting network.
DOST regional director for Bicol Tomas Briñas here on Thursday said the new P560-million facility which is part of the Doppler Radar System of the country being established through a P1.6-billion grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was set up in the island province of Catanduanes, Luzon’s typhoon front door.
Constructed under the supervision of Japanese engineers, the facility will be turned over this month to the DOST’s Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) which will man its operations starting February, Briñas said.
This state-of-the-art Philippine Doppler Radar System is the first of its kind in Asia and just one of the three facilities being constructed under the JICA funding in the country. The other two are in Aparri, Cagayan and Guiaun Eastern Samar, he said.
This new facility would do away with the usual magnetron system that generates radio waves from where weathermen based their weather forecasts as it is equipped with solid-state radar capable of meteorological tools that show perfect quality images for fast and accurate data, Briñas explained.
The meteorological equipment composed of a radar display system, a satellite communications system and a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) enclosed in a tower building is capable of tracking the amount and movement of rainfall, particularly during typhoons and thunderstorms, within a range of 480 kilometers.
“We are now in the process of training a team of weathermen from PAGASA who will man this facility,” he said.
The system’s weather forecasting and monitoring capabilities, Briñas said, will be complimented by several Automatic Warning System (AWS) which have been set up by the Pagasa in several strategic locations in the region particularly in Barcelona, Sorsogon; Tabaco City in Albay; Jose Panganiban of Camarines Norte and Virac, Catanduanes.
These instruments, he explained automatically receive and interpret through its software components weather conditions such as rainfall volume, wind speed and directions and other related matters to compliment the other PAGASA forecasting stations in the region particularly the tracker and starting next month, the Catanduanes Doppler Radar System.
The Barcelona AWS monitors weather situation in the southeastern section of Bicol and as far as Samar while the Tabaco station gets signal from all over Albay and part of Camarines Sur and the one in Jose Panganiban take care of the rest of Camarines Sur, the entire Camarines Norte and portions of Quezon Province, Briñas said.
The Virac facility on the other hand covers all areas around Catanduanes up to the farthest point it could reach over the Pacific Ocean from where most typhoons hitting Luzon develop.
With these facilities, he said, the typhoon-prone Bicol now had an almost complete state-of-the-art climate monitoring facilities made available through the Pagasa and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), another sub-agency under the DOST.
Another AWS is being eyed in the island province of Masbate to complete the regional system for a wider coverage, the DOST regional chief said adding that this kind of facility also enable local farmers, fishermen, businessmen, disaster risk reduction managers and practically everybody to obtain from the PAGASA quality meteorological data to serve their respective purposes.
It is DOST’s response to the needs of various communities for them to be aware of the prevailing weather situation in their places and for them to be guided accordingly on what to do, Briñas said.
These projects, the DOST regional chief added is in line with the “Development of Hybrid Weather Monitoring System and Production of Weather and Rain Automated Stations” of the Department which aims to develop and deploy a network of AWS and Automated Rain Gauge (ARG) to monitor real-time weather changes occurring in specific localities all over the country. (PNA)