THE PHILIPPINES is projected to be one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of future climate change. At the same time, it is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, mostly due to climate-related disasters. More alarming still, climate change is expected to exacerbate extreme events such as heavy precipitation and tropical cyclones. The science community must do its share in helping the country prepare for the onslaught of a warming world.
FUTURE CHANGES IN EXTREME EVENTS
It is very likely that hot temperature and heavy precipitation will continue to become more frequent in the future.
Number of days with maximum temperature >35°C is expected to increase in all parts of the country in 2020 and 2050.
Extreme rainfall is projected to increase in Luzon and Visayas in 2020 and 2050.
CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS AND RESEARCH PRIORITIES
While there is unanimity that climate change could adversely affect natural and social systems in the country, with the poorest of the poor especially vulnerable, there are very limited evidence-based information. As a result, policy-makers remain largely in the dark on the specifics of how to prepare for climate change. In what follows, we provide a succinct account of how climate change may impact various sectors and what are the key priority research areas.
1. Food security
Climate change threatens food production through a number of ways. First, warming temperature and changing rainfall patterns could affect the physiology of major crops. Preliminary research has shown a potential decline of rice yield and those of other major crops. However, global studies on rice and other crops show that the CO2 gas fertilization could lead to higher yields. Second, sea level rise could inundate crop growing areas, thus, reducing total arable land. Third, extreme events such as tropical cyclones could increase in intensity and frequency leading to greater damage to crops and infrastructure. Fourth, changing rainfall patterns could lead to flooding and droughts which will depress crop yields.
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