DOST chief orders full integration of Project Noah to Pagasa

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DOST sec. Mario Montejo DOST sec. Mario Montejo[/caption] The directive was issued by Montejo under DOST Special Order No. 784, Series of 2014, titled ?Transfer, Utilization and Monitoring of DOST Program Noah Outputs? dated October 10, 2014. The science chief also relegated the monitoring and evaluation function to the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) to ensure that these outputs are utilized by Pagasa in its daily function of providing weather information to the public. The move to synchronize all initiatives under Project Noah is part of the DOST?s strategic plan to integrate all weather and science-based knowledge products and research outputs into DOST-Pagasa to help improve and further enhance its functions, specifically its weather forecasting and flood warning and modeling capabilities. ?Three years since DOST launched Project Noah in Marikina City on July 6, 2012, we have already created a great number of disaster management tools and science-based products like high resolution flood hazard maps that we are now using to help us identify risk-prone areas near the 18 major river systems in the country. With these tools, we are able to institute a very effective early warning system that can prevent loss of lives and extreme damage to properties caused by flooding,? Montejo said. The integration of the Noah products to DOST-Pagasa will further strengthen the weather bureau in consolidating all available weather data and delivering more comprehensive weather information to the public. With more advanced science-based tools like flood modeling and simulation including storm surge mapping, DOST-Pagasa services are now at par with other international weather organizations. For one, the use of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology under the Noah component project, the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (Dream), enabled the DOST to produce topographical maps that shows low lying areas susceptible to flooding. The Dream project is a joint undertaking of DOST and the University of the Philippines College of Engineering. ?With the completion of the Dream project for Noah, we are now more prepared to address flooding incidents here in Metro Manila, as well as in the regions with our flood modeling and simulation; allowing us to anticipate where and when flooding will occur that a few years back was not possible,? Montejo said. In fact, data of flood events from a five-year return period to 100-year return period can be accessed easily via its digital portal, thus giving a six-hour lead time for local government units and the communities-at-risk to conduct evacuation activities and prevent the loss of lives, Montejo said. The rain forecast product generated from the ClimateX project under the DOST has also been integrated to Pagasa. In so doing, Montejo said that hourly rain forecasts for specific areas are provided by the weather bureau with an accuracy rate of about 80 percent. He further said that this was made possible because of the more than 1,000 sensors installed all over the country. ?Together with the DOST?s Advanced Science and Technology Institute, we were able to fabricate and produce cheap but high quality weather equipment like the automated rain gauges and automated water level monitoring sensors that help us in determining early on the amount of rainfall for a specific location as well as the height of water level in rivers,? Montejo said. With these equipment placed in strategic areas near rivers and watersheds, the weather bureau can periodically monitor the rise in water levels in major rivers and anticipate possible flooding. All these data are available to help disaster managers and local chief executives to plan ahead like setting up evacuation centers and provisioning for food and medical supplies. The Noah products now phased in to Pagasa to enhance its forecasting capability are the following:

? WRF output for the 7-day Weather Forecast produced by the Noah Weather Information System Enhancement (WISE);

? ClimateX Short Term Forecast generating automated rainfall forecasting for Pagasa?s thunderstorm/rainfall advisories;

? Flood Monitoring using the flood monitoring and forecasting system in the 18 major river basins for use by Pagasa Hydromet Division;

? Flood Hazard Maps with Risk Exposure Assessment using 2D flood hazard maps of the 18 major river basins for use by Pagasa?s Hydromet Division;

? Storm Surge Inundation Maps to be used for issuing storm surge advisories during typhoons; and

? Transfer and Utilization of ASTI developed Hydromet Sensors and Early Warning Systems.

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