Pinoy scientist part of research crew that flew over typhoon Paeng

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2018 02:45 AM

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MANILA—A Filipino scientist recently joined colleagues from Japan for a research trip that involved flying over typhoon Paeng (international name Trami) and dropping probes into the storm. 

For the past 2 years, a project under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been allowing weather specialists from Japan and the Philippines to carry out advanced research that aims to enable Filipino meteorologists to improve severe-weather forecasts.

Part of the project, which Filipino scientists called ULAT or Understanding Lightning and Thunderstorms, involves using devices called dropsondes that are ejected from an aircraft and into an area of severe weather.

The dropsonde uses sensors to gather data on air pressure, temperature and humidity.

Jay Combinido, senior science research specialist at the Department of Science and Technology's Advanced Science and Technology Institute, said they flew over Paeng and used dropsondes to gather details about the storm. 

"During our traverse from the outer bands of the typhoon, down to the center and back to the periphery, we were dropping several instruments," Combinido said in an interview with ANC's "Future Perfect Tech Shorts."

The scientists used 65 dropsondes on typhoon Paeng in a span of 4 days. He said their goal was to obtain a more detailed structure of the typhoon.

Since they were flying way above the typhoon, the scientists were unaffected by Paeng's severe winds, which reached super typhoon level according to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center. 

"We were on the top so there was no turbulence," Combinido said.

ABS-CBN reporter Bettina Magsaysay, who has been covering weather bureau PAGASA over 10 years, said the aim of ULAT was to come up with better models for forecasting extreme weather. 

"With the dropsonde, its going a step further. It profiles the whole typhoon from top to bottom and even the surrounding periphery of the typhoon," Magsaysay said.