Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR103009- Australia, Philippines Launch Enhanced Weather Forecasting System


Australia and the Philippines today held a press briefing on an enhanced weather forecasting system which will help the Philippines better prepare for natural disasters particularly tropical cyclones.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Estrella Alabastro, National Disaster Coordinating Council Executive Officer Gen. Glenn Rabonza, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Administrator Dr Prisco Nilo and Australian Bureau of Meteorology representative Todd Smith led the briefing on the Tropical Cyclone Early Warning System at the Weather and Flood Forecasting Centre at the PAGASA compound in Quezon City.

The Tropical Cyclone Early Warning System, which will be used by PAGASA, was developed with support from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology through a Php17 million grant from the Australian Government Aid Program.

“The loss of life and damage caused by recent typhoons, not just in the Philippines but also across south-east Asia, is a tragic reminder of how prone our region is to natural disasters. As a regional neighbour and key development partner, Australia is helping improve the Philippines’ preparedness to manage and respond to disasters and emergencies,” Ambassador Smith said.

“Australia will continue to work in partnership with the Philippine Government, as well as other donors, international and local organisations, to ensure that warning systems work effectively to save lives and property and that disruption to the economy can be minimised.”

The system improves the tracking and accuracy of tropical cyclone forecasting, including position and intensity, and also enables verification of forecasts after the event.

PAGASA Administrator, Dr. Prisco D. Nilo stressed that with this new technology, typhoon forecasting will now be enhanced and significantly support real-time forecasters. At present PAGASA uses various numerical weather prediction models to track tropical cyclones and forecast their intensity. These models are sometimes difficult to interpret, affecting the quality of forecast decisions and timeliness of warnings.

The enhanced system will help in better analysing these different models to come up with a consensus and accurate forecast, as well as enhancing the mapping of storm signals. It will also help improve and enable a faster delivery of warnings through an automated delivery system for fax, email, internet and SMS.

The Australian Government has supported the Philippines on disaster related activities including strengthening community-based disaster management and has provided approximately Php230 million in humanitarian and emergency assistance in response to natural disasters in the country since 2006.