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This time, expect a cooler summer


04:38 AM March 21st, 2011

By: Kristine L. Alave, March 21st, 2011 04:38 AM

MANILA, Philippines—Unlike last year, the coming months won’t be a long, hot, sizzling summer. Filipinos can thank La Niña for that.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) says it expects the dry months of March, April and May to be less scorching than the torrid summer the country endured in 2010, which saw the temperature hit record highs.

Robert Sawi, PAGASA chief forecaster, Sunday said he expected the summer months this year to be “cooler” than last year due to the La Niña weather phenomenon.

He noted that 2010 was an abnormally warm year in the Philippines, with the highest temperature soaring to 39.7 degrees Celsius in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan province, according to PAGASA records. It was recorded on April 12, 2010.

Manila also simmered last year, with the hottest temperature hitting 37.3 degrees on April 28. That was, however, lower than the highest temperature on record for Manila—38.5 degrees, recorded on May 14, 1987, according to PAGASA.

‘Little Girl’

“There are rains because of La Niña, which disperses heat … It will be cooler than last year,” Sawi said in an interview with the media. “Even now, you can feel still feel the cold.”

He said he expected the temperature to rise toward the end of this month, but the days would not be as punishing as last year.

La Niña (The Little Girl) is a term used by meteorologists to describe unusually cool sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. It is associated with extreme climatic changes, such as devastating rains.

It is the opposite of El Niño (The Little Boy) weather phenomenon, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures and results in less rainfall and fewer tropical cyclones.

Above normal

The weather bureau said La Niña, which has brought heavy rains in the eastern seaboard and parts of Mindanao since December last year, reached its peak during the January-February period, but that its effects would linger until May.

As such, there will be above normal rainfall throughout the country during the summer months, PAGASA said.

Sawi said the average temperature might hover around 35 degrees which, he said, would be the “normal” temperature during the summer months.

Hottest on record

The year 2010 was the hottest year on record, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said. It was an El Niño year, which brought abnormally warm temperatures all over the world.

The WMO, a UN agency, said it was a sign that the earth was warming.

“The year 2010 ranked as the warmest year on record, together with 2005 and 1998,” the agency said. “Data received by the WMO show no statistically significant difference between global temperatures in 2010, 2005 and 1998.”

“In 2010, global average temperature was 0.53 degrees above the 1961-90 mean. This is 0.01 degrees above the nominal temperature in 2005, and 0.02 degrees above 1998,” the WMO noted. With Inquirer Research

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