Establishment of Agro-Meteorological Stations in Highly Vulnerable Agricultural Areas: A Tool for Climate Change Adaptation and in the Development of Local Early Warning System (Agromet -Cum Climate Change)

Background

On May 18, 2010, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) purposely to strengthen the capability of Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) in managing data from agro-meteorological stations and automated weather stations (AWS) through the able assistance of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (DOST-PAGASA). In this MOA, PAGASA shall assist BSWM specifically in the training of agro-meteorological and AWS observers, installation of AWS, and recalibration and maintenance of equipment.

Relative to the above and in response to the growing demands for timely and more reliable weather data that are useful for improving crop management, a project entitled: “Establishment of Agro-Meteorological Stations in Highly Vulnerable Agricultural Areas: A Tool for Climate Change Adaptation and in the Development of Local Early Warning System (Agromet-CUM CLIMATE CHANGE)”, was conceptualized by BSWM and approved by the National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC) through their USDA PL480 Title I Program. Henceforth, a MOA was signed between BSWM and NAFC for the implementation of the project on December 16, 2011.

The PL-480 assisted project aims to reduce the vulnerability of the agriculture sector, specifically the resource-poor upland farmers and communities to the impacts of climate change and related natural disasters through timely and accurate agro-meteorological data monitoring through AWS. It involves:

  • establishment/installation of 100 AWS with nine (9) sensors, upgrading of 20 existing units of PAGASA and 33 existing units of ASTI by adding three (3) sensors; and installation of 84 standard rain gauges;
  • data collection, processing, interpretation, communication, and utilization;
  • conduct of capability building activities;
  • development of agro-ecological cell/zone;
  • advocacy and policy; and
  • project management, monitoring and evaluation.

To ensure that the establishment of AWS complies with the standards of World Meteorological Organizations (WMO), this major component of the project was decided and approved to be collaborated with the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of DOST.

The project’s major activity involves setting-up of 100 AWS in strategic locations validated by BSWM and PAGASA. AWS will capacitate the communities to manage their resources, provide real-time and more localized information to help farmers in making decision (when and what to plant), and solve field operation problems to achieve food security and more equitable economic growth.

Applications and Benefits from AWS

Applications Benefits
Short Term Long Term
Recording site-specific weather conditions for agromet researches and routine weather monitoring. Maintain yield and/or avoid losses thru on-site tactical application, say controlling conditions in a greenhouse. Ensure increased yield thru better choice of crops and crop varieties and technologies to suit specific site physical features and agro-climatic conditions.
Collection of local and regional (i.e. thru a network of AWS) real-time weather information for forecasting, local warning, and hydrologic analysis. Avoid damage and losses by deployment of early warning system in a larger scale (e.g. River basin). Increased yield and/or reduced losses thru appropriate cropping pattern and calendar on a regional scale using reliable climate info and forecasts.
Efficient and properly designed irrigation system.
Avoid losses thru agro-weather forecasts & advisories.
Collection of high degree of details of weather information in terms of time and spatial variability and trend for accurate forecasting. Reliable and realistic short term decisions for efficient farming operations.

Better monitoring of environmental conditions and occurrence of pest and diseases.

More precise calculation of irrigation requirements to allow more accurate estimates of potential irrigated areas and available water.

Better forecast to forewarn farmers and undertake necessary precautions.

Weather-based crop insurance application Assured just compensation against crop damage thru improved calibration of crop losses due to abnormal weather conditions. Better development of rainfall distribution index for crop insurance.
Crop management decision, such as irrigation scheduling (thru field water balance) and integrated pest management Better control and management of water delivery and water use.

Biological observation and correlation of pest occurrence with weather condition.

Preparation of better crop water budget and irrigation scheduling to optimize use of available water
Reduced impacts of pest and diseases.
For obtaining weather data collectively and accurately and calculation of agromet products on-board (e.g. evapotranspiration) Immediate availability of crop consumptive use or evapo- transpiration data. More dependable and reliable data on crop water requirement for the design of irrigation system and for monitoring crop growth
Disaster risk reduction and early warning system deployment. Reduced damage and losses thru early warning and advisories. Facilitate cropping pattern and calendar adjustment to avoid impact of extreme events.

Provide strategic (e.g. relocation of farm) and tactical management decisions (i.e. evacuate and save farm assets).