Thursday, December 22, 2011

Climate change becomes stark reality in Philippines

Girlie Linao in Monsters & Critics: ... Many were also left wondering why the devastating floods happened in the southern Philippines, which has traditionally been spared by the deadly tropical cyclones and other natural disasters that batter the South-East Asian archipelago every year. Environmentalists and scientists, however, are not among those in shock over the disaster.

Three years ago, they conducted a simulation study on the impact of climate change on the archipelago of more than 7,000 islands and practically predicted what happened in Iligan and the nearby city of Cagayan de Oro. But they were dismissed by officials as being alarmists, said Jose Ma Lorenzo Tan, president of the World Wide Fund for Nature in the Philippines.

Tan said the study predicted six impacts of climate change that would affect the Philippines: Every year, the weather would be different; typhoons would intensify; sea levels and temperatures would increase; and many areas would experience extreme rainfall or drought. Areas that are not usually threatened by tropical cyclones are no longer immune, he said.
'Climate change essentially says that business as usual goes out the window, and we are now facing what I call business unusual,' he said.

Tropical Storm Washi slammed into the southern Philippines Friday, dumping one month's worth of rain in less than 12 hours. The floods hit overnight as residents slept, wiping out entire villages and sweeping away houses, vehicles and trees.

More than 1,000 people were killed in the floods, and more than half a million were left homeless in one of the Philippines' worst disasters in years....

Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong) over Mindanao on December 16, 2011, several hours before making landfall.

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