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Thursday, April 18, 2024

NCR scorches with 37ºC, highest heat index in 50 yrs

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SWELTERING HEAT. People shield themselves from the sun as they visit the Dolomite Beach in Manila. The National Capital Region logged its highest heat index with 37°C on Wednesday, the state weather bureau said. AFP

Manila registered its hottest day of the month on Wednesday as the heat index in the Port Area hit 37 degrees Celsius, the state weather bureau said.

Water level at Angat Dam, on the other hand, continued to drop, with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) warning that allocation for domestic use in Metro Manila will be reduced to 48 cubic meters per second (CMS) if the 180 meters minimum operating level is breached.

“The Board decided to modify the allocation if the level of Angat Dam falls below the minimum operating level of 180 meters. For MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System), 48 cubic meters per second, NIA (National Irrigation Administration), up to 20 CMS until the end of July,” NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. said.

The 37ºC heat index in the National Capital Region surpassed the previous record of 36.5ºC at the same station on July 2, 1973.

Tuguegarao City, meanwhile, recorded a 36.4ºC heat index on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m., the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

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Clark registered a temperature of 36.1ºC, while Sangley Point, Cavite, Dagupan City, and Aparri recorded 36ºC.

A 35.6ºC heat index was also recorded at the Science Garden in Quezon City and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City.

Weather forecasters said despite the heat and the coming El Niño, the country can expect 10 to 14 tropical cyclones before the end of the year.

Analiza Solis, chief of the Climatology and Agrometeorology Division at PAGASA, said some may hit land while others might just pass the Philippine area of responsibility.

Some may enhance the southwest monsoon, she added.

Senator Loren Legarda warned the effects of El Nino on weather patterns, agriculture, water resources, and ecosystems can have far-reaching consequences on food security, economies, and overall well-being.

She said the impact of El Nino is indeed a serious concern that requires urgent and decisive actions.

“We must implement measures to mitigate its impacts, promote climate-resilient practices, ensure equitable allocation of resources, and foster regional and international collaboration to address this challenge effectively,” she said.

She said the government and the private sector must prepare and work together in reducing the risk and negative effects of El Niño on the country and its people.

“We must prioritize water supply and food security,” she said.

“Our country’s adaptation program must be all set to lessen the effects of El Niño on our farmers and fisherfolk who are already burdened by extreme climate events and disasters,” she added. “We can surpass this dry season if we consolidate all efforts and adequately prepare for its effects.”

Meanwhile, the European Union’s climate monitoring service said the world saw its hottest June on record last month, as climate change and the El Nino weather pattern looked likely to drive another scorching northern summer.

The announcement from the EU monitor Copernicus marked the latest in a series of records for a year that has already seen a drought in Spain and fierce heat waves in China and the United States.

“The month was the warmest June globally at just over 0.5 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average, exceeding June 2019 -– the previous record -– by a substantial margin,” the EU monitor said in a statement from its C3S climate unit.

Temperatures reached June records across northwest Europe while parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, Asia and eastern Australia “were significantly warmer than normal,” Copernicus noted.

On the other hand it was cooler than normal in western Australia, the western United States and western Russia, it said.

It was the latest in a series of heat records over recent years, reflecting the impact of global warming driven by greenhouse gases released from human activity.

Preliminary readings published Wednesday by US meteorologists indicated Tuesday was the hottest day ever recorded, based on data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

Copernicus noted that sea surface temperatures were higher globally than any previous June on record, with “extreme marine heatwaves” around Ireland, Britain and the Baltic.

Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest extent for June since satellite observations began, at 17 percent below average.

C3S scientist Julien Nicolas said the June record was driven largely by “very warm ocean surface temperatures” in the Pacific and Atlantic due to El Nino, a periodic warming phenomenon.

“On top of that is this warming trend of the ocean absorbing 90 percent of heat released by human activity,” he added.

The global temperature was 0.53 C above the 30-year average at an average of 16.51C (61.72F), he calculated.

“June 2023 is way above the others. This is the kind of anomaly we are not used to,” Nicolas said.

Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the UN’s World Meteorological Organization, warned on Monday that El Nino “will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records and triggering more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean.”

He urged governments “to mobilize preparations to limit the impacts on our health, our ecosystems and our economies.”

El Nino is a naturally occurring pattern associated with increased heat worldwide, as well as drought in some parts of the world and heavy rains elsewhere.

In addition, human activity – mainly the burning of fossil fuels -– is continuing to emit roughly 40 billion tonnes of planet-warming CO2 into the atmosphere every year.

As well as withering crops, melting glaciers and raising the risk of wildfires, higher-than-normal temperatures also cause health problems ranging from heatstroke and dehydration to cardiovascular stress.

In the United States, local officials said last week that at least 13 people died from an extreme heat wave in Texas and Louisiana.

China issued its highest-level heat alert for northern parts of the country as Beijing baked in temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

After a record hot June in Britain, water use restrictions were imposed in parts of southeastern England, and Scotland put regions on water scarcity alert.

The world has warmed an average of nearly 1.2 C since the mid-1800s, unleashing extreme weather including more intense heatwaves, more severe droughts in some areas and storms made fiercer by rising seas. With AFP

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