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Philippines 1101

Philippines The Philippines is one of the world’s most nat-


ural disaster-prone countries because of a com-
The Philippines is an archipelago composed of bination of high incidence of typhoons, floods,
7,107 islands located in southeast Asia in the droughts, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and
western Pacific Ocean. Its tropical climate has landslides. It is estimated that 81.3 percent of the
endowed it with biodiversity that is considered population occupying 50.3 percent of the coun-
some of the richest in the world. At 94 million try’s total area are vulnerable to these natural dis-
people, the country is the 12th most populous turbances, which primarily affect their economic
country in the world. lives. Of these natural hazards, typhoons claim the
Including emissions from land use and forestry, most lives and cause the most damage to property.
the Philippines is still a relatively minor contribu- The impacts of climate change to stream flow
tor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and rep- and groundwater surcharge brought about by
resented a minute 0.51 percent of the world’s total long-spell droughts has already affected water
in 2000. However, climate change issues affect quality and availability in the country, especially
all facets of national development. Response to in urban centers. Metro Manila had already expe-
climate change in the Philippines began as early rienced the rationing of its potable water sup-
as the 1990s through a series of legal and policy ply. In addition, climate change is also expected
initiatives. to impact health conditions related to nutrition,
The effects of climate change have already been growth and development, and the rise of mos-
manifest in the country in the form of temperature quito-related diseases such as dengue fever.
spikes and variable weather. Hot days and hot The primary expected impacts of climate
nights tend to be more frequent. Extreme weather change to the Philippines, however, will come as a
events such as typhoons, floods, and landslides result of climate variability—changes in precipita-
have also recurred. The country’s vulnerability to tion patterns and increase in temperature. These
climate change is considered high, with impacts have close correlation to vulnerabilities that are
adversely affecting agriculture and fisheries, two linked to poverty and environmental degradation,
of the country’s major industries. since it is the poor who are located in disaster-
With increasing frequency and intensity of heat prone and environmentally fragile areas. It could
waves, floods, droughts, and typhoons, agricul- be felt even more through interrelated effects on
tural and coastal marine ecosystem output and agriculture, soil and land quality, and forest cover
productivity will be altered. Moreover, water by means of soil degradation, flooding, drought,
availability and quality will be reduced. The inci- and the low volume of irrigation water. The
dence of climate-sensitive infectious diseases will decline in agricultural production and produc-
also trend upward. The poor are especially at risk tivity would threaten the country’s food security.
from these impacts, as many of them live in natu- Because of increased irrigation demands and low
rally hazard-prone areas and are dependent on crop yields, groups involved in rice and corn pro-
natural resources for their livelihoods. duction would be the most affected sector.
Aside from being located at the western rim of The Philippines have worked to adapt to these
the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines also lie impacts through a series of responses, ranging
along a typhoon belt in the Pacific. This makes from addressing vulnerabilities of specific sectors
the country more geographically vulnerable to the to focusing on disaster-prone settlements, high-
adverse impacts of climate change. With a coast- risk population centers, and food-production
line length of approximately 20,132 mi. (32,400 areas. In terms of mitigation, the Philippines have
km), the Philippine coast is one of the longest in been promoting a climate-friendly energy sup-
the world. More than 60 percent of the coastal ply mix, policy incentives for renewable energy,
population are dependent on marine resources for and diverse energy system interventions through
their livelihoods; thus, impacts to coastal commu- energy efficiency and energy generation.
nities would be more pronounced, especially in
terms of significant sea-level rise, coral bleaching, Laurence Laurencio Delina
and fish kills. Independent Scholar
Copyright © 2012 SAGE Publications. Not for sale, reproduction, or distribution.

1102 Phillips, Norman

See Also: Abrupt Climate Changes; Adaptation; marked the transformation of weather forecast-
Climate Change, Effects of; Drought; Global ing from a highly individualistic effort to a coop-
Warming, Impacts of; Land Use; Land Use, Land- erative task in which teams of experts developed
Use Change, and Forestry; Preparedness; Rainfall complex computer programs. With the first digi-
Patterns; Vulnerability. tal computer in the 1950s, scientists tried to rep-
resent the complexity of the atmosphere and its
Further Readings circulation in numerical equations. Nineteenth-
Allen, K. “Community-Based Disaster Preparedness and early 20th-century mathematicians such as
and Climate Adaptation: Local Capacity-Building Vilhelm Bjerknes and Lewis Fry Richardson had
in the Philippines.” Disasters, v.30/1 (2006). failed to come up with adequate mathematical
Buan, R. D., et. al. “Vulnerability of Rice and Corn models. Through the 1950s, some leading meteo-
in the Philippines.” Water, Air and Soil Pollution, rologists tried to replace Bjerknes’s and Richard-
v.92/1–2 (1996). son’s numerical approach with methods based on
Government of the Philippines. Philippines First mathematical functions, working with simplified
National Communication on Climate Change. forms of the physics equations that described
Manila: Government of the Philippines, 1999. the entire global atmosphere. They succeeded in
Jose, A. and N. Cruz. “Climate Change Impacts getting only partial mathematical models. These
and Responses in the Philippines Coastal Sector.” reproduced some features of atmospheric layers,
Climate Research, v.12 (1999). but they could not show the features of the gen-
Pulhin, F and R. Lasco. “Climate Change and eral circulation persuasively.
Biodiversity in the Philippines: Potential Impacts Their suggested solutions contained instabili-
and Adaptation Strategies.” In Moving Forward: ties because they could not account for eddies
Southeast Asian Perspectives on Climate Change and other crucial features. Discouraged by such
and Biodiversity, edited by P. Sajise, et al. failures, scientists began to think that the real
Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, atmosphere was too complex to be described by
2010. a few lines of mathematics. The comment of such
a leading climatologist as Bert Bolin is revealing
of this skepticism. In 1952, Bolin argued that
there was very little hope for the possibility of
deducing a theory for the general circulation of
Phillips, Norman the atmosphere from the complete hydrodynamic
and thermodynamic equations. Yet, computers
Norman Phillips is a theoretical meteorologist opened up new possibilities in the field, although
who pioneered the use of numerical methods for the first digital specimens were extremely slow
the prediction of weather and climate changes. His and often broke down.
influential studies led to the first computer models Jule Charney was the first to devise a two-
of weather and climate, as well as to an under- dimensional weather simulation. Dividing North
standing of the general circulation of the atmo- America into a grid of cells, the computer started
sphere, including the transports of heat and mois- with real weather data for a particular day and
ture that determine the Earth’s climate. His 1955 then solved all the equations, working out how
model is generally regarded as a groundbreaking the air should respond to the differences in condi-
device that helped to win scientific skepticism in tions between each pair of adjacent cells. It then
reproducing the patterns of wind and pressure of stepped forward using a three-hour step and com-
the entire atmosphere within a computer model. puted all the cells again. The system was slow to
Phillips received his B.S. from the University operate and it had imperfections, but its comple-
of Chicago in 1947, and his Ph.D. in 1951. He tion paved the way for more research. Norman
was the first to show, with a simple general cir- Phillips sought to address the problems in Char-
culation model, that weather prediction with ney’s model. The challenge for meteorologists
numerical models was possible. The advent of now became the computation of the unchanging
numerical weather predictions in the 1950s also average of the weather given a set of unchang-