ULAT – Understanding Lightning and Thunderstorms Project
By Gerald Sy
The Understanding Lightning and Thunderstorms Project (ULAT) aims to observe the country’s weather behaviors through studying torrential rainfall and thunderstorm occurrences as parameters to eventually enable short-term forecasts.
In September 2016, the DOST-ASTI entered into a Collaborative Research Agreement (CRA) with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan Science and Technology (JST) and Hokkaido University enjoining all parties for a project titled “Development of Extreme Weather Monitoring and Information Sharing System in the Philippines”. The project is an Official Development Assisted (ODA) project under the initiative of Japan’s Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) Program.
The project aims to observe the country’s weather behaviors through studying torrential rainfall and thunderstorm occurrences as parameters to eventually enable short-term forecasts. The project has four (4) main outputs: a) establish a lightning sensor network b) establish a satellite antenna for 3D structuring of thunderclouds c) develop algorithms for forecasting; and d) establish data sharing for related agencies in disaster risk reduction.
The Japanese experts have developed their very own automated weather stations equipped with various sensors which measure both weather parameters and lightning occurrence. The intention is to build a network of 60 lightning instruments all over Metro Manila and all over the Philippines to collect torrential rainfall data and lightning events through these instruments. If proven to be accurate, the project will be able to hasten weather forecasts benefiting disaster response.
Further, the use of our very own DIWATA-1 and soon to be introduced DIWATA-2 in space, can take pictures of cloud activities for 3D estimation of thundercloud precipitation. These images verify the amount of precipitation during the occurrence of rainfall. With the collection of accurate data, we are able then to share and create strategies especially to disaster related agencies and local government units to prepare in times of weather disturbances