PAGASA cites indicators show El Niño can be felt in Dumaguete City

By Roi Anthoni Lomotan

DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – The country’s weather bureau station in Negros Oriental has seen a decrease in the amount of rainfall and rise of temperature over the past three months which indicate that El Niño phenomenon has stepped in Dumaguete City and possibly in other parts of the province.

(L-R) PIA NegOr Infocen manager Jenny Tilos, PAGASA-NegOr chief meteorogolist Neptune Catarata, PAO research division chief Charito Catarata and Engr. Joseph Naparota, engineer-A of NIA-Negros Oriental during a Kapihan forum on El Niño adaptation measures in Agriculture held last April 16, 2015 at Bethel Guest House, Dumaguete City. (PIA7-Negros Oriental)
(L-R) PIA NegOr Infocen manager Jenny Tilos, PAGASA-NegOr chief meteorogolist Neptune Catarata, PAO research division chief Charito Catarata and Engr. Joseph Naparota, engineer-A of NIA-Negros Oriental during a Kapihan forum on El Niño adaptation measures in Agriculture held last April 16, 2015 at Bethel Guest House, Dumaguete City. (PIA7-Negros Oriental)

Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Services Administration (PAGASA)-Negros Oriental chief meteorological officer Neptune Catarata said Dumaguete City, for example, experienced lessened rainfall amount from January to March this year.

According to Catarata, the rainfall amount recorded in January was 71.4mm, 41.5mm in February and 1.9mm in March.

These figures are lower than the average rainfall amount experienced by Dumaguete City during the first quarter of the year. He mentioned that the normal average rainfall amount for January is estimated at 82.0mm, 61.4mm in February and 46.3mm in March.

For the month of April, the city has just experienced 11.9mm amount of rainfall so far. But this is still lower than the average rainfall amount which is 53.7mm.

On the other hand, PAGASA also noted an increase of temperature during the mentioned period.

In January the temperature rose to 31.3°C, 30.2°C in February and 31.3°C in March. This is slightly higher than the average normal temperature during these months.

Based on PAGASA records, the normal average temperature in January is pegged at 28.9°C, 30.0°C in February and 30.5°C in March.

But the hottest temperature was recorded on the first week of April with 32.9°C hotness. The day was either Good Friday or Black Saturday, Catarata said.

Catarata underscored that even 1 centigrade anomaly can bring a big impact in hotness of temperature. He also added that these data are seen only in Dumaguete City and other parts of the province can possibly experience hotter temperature.

“These are indications of abnormality in our temperature and our rainfall (conditions).  These are the signals of El Niño,” Catarata noted.

To recall, the PAGASA head office in Manila has announced that the country is experiencing mild case of El Niño or prolonged dry season. This prolonged dry season might last until the middle of the year.

The impact of El Niño can be damages to crops and livestock.

However, Provincial Agriculturist Office (PAO) research division Chief Charito Catarata disclosed that so far, the dry spell has not yet affected the cropping of major agricultural products.

“According to the provincial agriculturist, most of the farmers have harvested already the first crop and also the second crop. The first and second cropping seasons are seen normal,” Catarata mentioned.

But still, in order to mitigate the negative effects of El Niño in agriculture, PAO advises farmers to plant drought tolerant varieties of rice.

Catarata explained that the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research (PhilRice) Institute has been developing drought tolerant varieties of rice which are suitable to plant in seasons like this.

He calls on to all farmers in the province to contact PAO or in their municipal agriculture office to inquire and avail on this kind of variety.

Aside from this, Catarata also advises farmers to plant early maturing crops or products that don’t take a long time to mature. These are legumes that include winged beans, mung beans and pigeon peas.

Also, PAO prescribes farmers to do intermittent irrigation in rice fields as another adaptation measures for El Niño.

Catarata explained the process which instead of continuous irrigation to rice paddies, farmers will only put sufficient amount of water in the paddies and monitor within 2-3 days if there is cracking of the soil.

Once there is a soil cracking, that will be the time they will water their rice fields.

For livestock, the PAO continuously conducts vaccination to animals to make their resistance stronger against diseases spreading during prolonged dry season. (mbcn/ral/PIA7-NegOr/This article was first published at PIA website on April 16, 2015)


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