The Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards or Project NOAH has been very effective in aiding local government units and the general public in terms of disaster preparedness and mitigation through its digital platform.
The website, www.noah.dost.gov.ph, which provides timely weather and hazard information, is easily accessible to users.
Flood forecasting with the use of flood hazard maps generated from the component project of NOAH, referred to as Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation or DREAM, is an important feature in the NOAH website. Through DREAM, unsafe and safe areas for evacuation or relocation in the event of floods are identified.
Pushing the envelope: NOAH for agriculture
In 2014, two years following its launch in Marikina City on July 6, 2012, Project NOAH has morphed into a different form of information vehicle: Project NOAH’s weather data are now being utilized as a tool for agriculture.
You heard it right: Project NOAH is going beyond disaster mitigation. It is now churning out data and information that can help farmers increase productivity by knowing when to plant and where to plant.
The Weather Information Integration for System Enhancement or WISE is a component of Project NOAH. It enhances the existing 5-day forecast given by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA to a 7-day forecast.
By extending the weather forecast time coverage, farmers can now plan ahead and adjust planting schedules to avoid possible hazards like typhoons, floods and drought. In short, WISE provides critical information in determining the best time for planting and harvesting specific crops like rice and corn.
During the Agri-Aqua Forum held last July 27, 2014 during DOST’s recently concluded National Science and Technology Week at the SMX Convention Center, “smart agriculture”, the government’s initiative in addressing climate change adaptation, took prominence.
Dr. Erika Mari Macapagal of NOAH-WISE delivered a presentation by colleague Dr. Gay Jane Perez titled “Drought and Crop Assessment and Forecasting or DCAF.”
Dr. Macapagal showed the drought vulnerability maps for the country’s two major crops: rice and corn. The color-coded map identified areas highly vulnerable to drought represented by color red, moderately vulnerable by color yellow, and least vulnerable by color green.
For rice, the highly vulnerable areas include Central Mindanao, Central Luzon, Bicol, Iloilo and Negros. On the other hand, the least vulnerable is Northeastern Mindanao.
For corn, the highly vulnerable areas include Zamboanga, half of Eastern Mindanao, Cebu and Batangas. On the other hand, almost the entire area of Luzon including Mindoro, Palawan, Panay Island and Eastern Mindanao were identified as least vulnerable.
Also presented were crop classification maps for coconut, sugarcane, abaca and tobacco.
By making this information available, Project NOAH-WISE is able to give farmers the flexibility in choosing the right crop for a particular season, thereby minimizing their losses when drought comes.
Dr. Macapagal also briefly discussed the parameters they were using to assess drought events. These include data on rainfall, soil moisture, temperature and vegetation cover.
Likewise, the NOAH-WISE project aims to come up with seasonal forecasts of up to 6-months in advance.
Once completed, this information will greatly help those in the agricultural sector – from individual farmers to corporate agricultural ventures -- in programming their planting activities, thereby minimizing loss and increasing production. (S&T Media Service)