Abstracts – “Scientific Frontiers: Serving the Peripheries in Times of Change”

Keynote Address

Fr. Agustin Udias, SJ

The Manila Observatory traces its roots to the early meteorological observations conducted by Jesuit scholastics from the Escuela Municipal de Manila (now the Ateneo de Manila University) under the Spanish government. This eventually led to its appointment as the official weather bureau of the Philippines under the American administration, and then later to a shift from operational services to fundamental research upon its reinstatement after the destruction wrought by World War II. Today, 150 years later, the Observatory continues to provide groundbreaking research in the relevant sciences at present as guided by the Ignatian tradition of service.

Here are the abstracts of the talks for “Scientific Frontiers: Serving the Peripheries in Times of Change.”

Pressing Issues on Climate Change and Disaster Risks and their Implications on Sustainable Development in Southeast Asia

Fredolin Tangang, PhD

Climate Change is the most serious environmental issue that will be affecting humanity in the coming decades, especially in regions and countries that have high exposure and vulnerability and low resilience to the impacts of climate change. According to the latest assessment report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), without substantial mitigation efforts by countries in the world in reducing greenhouse gasses emissions, the Earth’s temperature will continue to rise and climate will continue to change. With a Business-As-Usual (BAU) emission scenario, global mean temperature is projected to increase by as much as 4-5o°C by the end of the 21st century. Weather and climate extreme events are also projected to increase and intensify. To reduce the risks to climate change and related disasters, both adapta-tion and substantial and sustained reduction of greenhouse gases emis-sion are required. However, risk to climate hazards is also a function of both exposure and vulnerability. Adaptation to climate change hazards at local and national scales requires understanding of both exposure and vulnerability and linkages to socioeconomic processes and sustainable development. Moreover, adaptation is place- and context-specific, with no single approach for risk reduction appropriate across all regions. While adapting to climate change is within the capability and means of most developed countries, it will be a tremendous challenge for developing countries in regions such as the Southeast Asia. In Southeast Asia, one critical issueis the large knowledge gap not only in climate change science but alsoin exposure and vulnerability to climate change hazards. This talk dwells on this issue on knowledge gaps and ways to address them.

Existing and Emerging Atmospheric Measurement Systems for Understanding Air Quality in Mega Manila

George Mount, PhD

Air quality in the Manila urban airshed is a major public health issue. The Manila Observatory is uniquely placed and uniquely staffed to take advantage of existing and emerging air quality measurement instru-mentation, both ground-based and satellite-based, to understand and help mitigate Manila megacity air pollution. This talk will briefly de-scribe the drivers for air quality measurements and its regulation and describe typical ground-based air quality instrumentation; then move quickly to state of the art instrumentation and especially the use of satel-lite measurements for investigation and understanding of the air quality problems in the Manila urban airshed. Future prospects for air quality measurements will be summarized.

RS-GIS, Aerospace Initiatives: Strategies in Responding to Disaster Risk

Mr. Masanobu Tsuji

Earth observation satellite is a useful tool in all disaster management cycle, response, recovery and preparedness/mitigation phases. For examples, in response phase, we can get information about damaged houses, roads, railroads, and flooded or fire areas from satellite images. These information are useful for rescue work, and finding evacuation route, ensure helicopter landing area, traffic control, and so on. In this presentation activity of Sentinel Asia, which is international framework using Earth observation satellite images for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRMM), will be explained. Also, some results of Sentinel Asia in large scale disasters will be reported. Space technology is powerful tool for DRMM and JAXA will continue emergency observation by ALOS-2 and other Earth observation satellites.

MAGDAS Network, Space Weather, and Geomagnetic Storms

Akimasa Yoshikawa, PhD

The International Center for Space Weather Science and Education (ICSWSE) of Kyushu University started the deployment of the MAGnetic Data Acquisition System (MAGDAS) for near-real time global monitoring of the geospace environment in 2005. Since then, new observational points were added to the network almost every year. Currently, MAGDAS has been installed at 73 observational sites all over the world, making the MAGDAS network one of largest magnetic observational array in the world. Manila Observatory in Ateneo de Manila University is an important partner of ICSWSE. The research collaboration history in the Philippines extends back to 1993. The first data was collected from Muntinlupa station on July 1, 1993. Since then, MAGDAS was installed in six observational sites in the Philippines, and the ICSWSE subcenter was established on March 8, 2011 in Manila Observatory. The collaboration is not only for data acquisition but also for researcher exchange. In the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Manila Observatory, the importance of space weather study and how Manila observatory contributed to the development of its science will be presented. The researcher exchange between Manila observatory and Kyushu University will also be presented.

SCINDA Network and GNSS for Equatorial Ionospheric Research

Keith Groves, PhD

Space weather generally refers to heliophysical phenomena or events that produce a negative impact on manmade systems. While many space weather events originate with impulsive disturbances on the sun, others result from complex internal interactions in the ionosphere-thermosphere system. The reliance of mankind on satellite-based services continues to increase rapidly, yet the global capacity for sensing space weather in the ionosphere seems headed towards decline. A number of recent ionospheric-focused space-based missions are either presently, or soon-to-be, no longer available, and the end of the multi-decade US Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program is now in sight. The chal-lenge facing the space weather community is how to maintain or increase sensing capabilities in an operational environment constrained by a de-creasing numbers of sensors. The upcoming launch of COSMIC-2 in 2016/2018 represents the most significant new capability planned for the future. GNSS RO data has some benefit for background ionospheric models, particularly over regions where ground-based GNSS TEC meas-urements are unavailable, but the space weather community has a dire need to leverage such missions for far more knowledge of the ionosphere, and specifically for information related to space weather impacts. Mean-while, the number of ground-based GNSS sensors worldwide has in-creased substantially, yet progress instrumenting some vastly under-sampled regions, such as Africa and parts of Asia, remains slow. In fact, the recent loss of support for many existing ground stations in such areas under the former Scintillation Network Decision Aid (SCINDA) pro-gram may actually result in a decrease in such sensing sites over the next 1-2 years, abruptly reversing a positive trend established over the last dec-ade. Here we present results from previous GNSS-based studies of equa-torial scintillation and potential solutions to the challenges current devel-opments pose to the space weather enterprise. Specific topics include modeling advances required to detect and accurately characterize irregu-larities and associated scintillations from GNSS RO measurements and an affordable approach to leverage existing ground stations to expand sensing capacity at critical locations in otherwise data-sparse regions.