Sunday, April 26, 2009

Climate change to hurt farmers the most

Business Mirror (Philippines): Category Four typhoons will do more than shut down schools and financial markets in the country. More extreme and unpredictable weather patterns are expected to hurt the country’s farmers the most, said University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) statistics professor Dr. Felino Lansigan.

Lansigan, also an associate professor at UPLB’s School of Environmental Science and Management, said data tracked in the last decade confirm a larger degree of variability in weather patterns as evidenced by pronounced storms and El Niño as well as La Niña events. He added that farmers, who are dependent on weather variables, are the first to feel these effects.

“Climate change affects the hydrology of an area. Weather patterns have changed. Now, farmers can no longer rely on suggested planting calendars,” said Lansigan in a phone interview with the Business Mirror. He also noted “significant” yield losses due to increasing temperatures and “extreme” climate variability from the effects of heightened El Niño and La Niña occurrences.

In his study, “Responding to Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture and Water Resources in the Philippines,” Lansigan said there is already evidence of climate change in the country. The study was presented during the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Hugh Greenwood Environmental Science Award last week. Dr. Lansigan won the award for 2009.

Citing 2004 statistics from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), Lansigan said average annual temperatures have increased by 0.14 degrees Celsius from 1971 to 2000. Meanwhile, average annual rainfall has increased since the 1980s alongside a noted rise in the occurrence of landslides and floods. Likewise, cyclones entering the Philippines from 1990 to 2003 have increased four-fold….

Across the Benguet State University in La Trinidad are the famous Strawberry Fields, where Baguio City's strawberry fruits and jams and preserves are produced. Shot by Shubert Ciencia from Nueva Ecija, Philippines, Wikmimedia Commons via Flickr,under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

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