MANILA, Philippines – Climate change is happening now and it's happening, not in far-flung corners of the world, but in human communities.
Scientists say human activities are largely responsible for the continued increase in average global temperatures, which causes climate change. Global greenhouse gases emitted by the fossil fuel industry (which gives us electricity and fuels our cars) trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere thus warming the entire planet.
Philippine cities will likely experience at least one of these effects of climate change:
The El Niño phenomenon occurs when the surface of ocean waters in the southern Pacific becomes abnormally warm. The energy created by this warming is so great that it can create an imbalance in the weather in different parts of the world. In Southeast Asia, it can lead to abnormally dry conditions.
El Niño can also make other weather events like storms highly unpredictable. Weather will have extreme highs and lows, making it "increasingly difficult to accurately predict weather patterns for purposes of planning and normal business operations," says a WWF-Philippines study.
Philippine cities are already experiencing unprecedented amounts of rainfall. In Tacloban City, rainfall increased by 257% from 1998 to 2011. More rainfall will lead to more flooding and can trigger landslides in upland communities.
Graphics by Raffy de Guzman
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.