A multi-sectoral climate group focused on boosting climate resilience and disaster preparedness of local government units (LGUs) across the country brings its project to Mindanao with the installation of its first Automated Weather Station (AWS) in the region.

The climate consortium is spearheaded by power, energy and gas technology leader Shell in collaboration with the Manila Observatory and Smart Communications, along with the respective LGUs of various coastal cities across the Philippines, which are under most threat of natural disasters and weather disturbances.

The first AWS in Mindanao was unveiled at the Shell retail station at Southbound Diversion Road, Barangay Cabantian, Davao City.

The Shell AWS initiative is in support of the expansion of Manila Observatory’s existing network of AWS, which is an established system of stand-alone devices that can accurately record temperature and humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, as well as rainfall.

In Metro Manila, the Manila Observatory currently has an AWS network that covers an approximate area of 625 kilometers.

Shell is supporting the installation of a total of 50 weather stations concentrated across coastal cities of Iloilo City in the Visayas, and in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, utilizing its gas stations and oil depots as sites in order to achieve strategic reach for the AWS network. Smart, as telecommunications partner, will provide the technology in data transmission in each coastal city.

With the installation of additional AWS points in coastal cities, the information gathered will enhance Manila Observatory’s urban risk and resilience analysis, as well as its regional and local climate system research.

Near real-time weather data will provide situational awareness to local partners and to the analysts at the Observatory. To further enhance the use of local data, research and technical support will also be extended by Ateneo de Davao, UP Visayas and Xavier University Cagayan. The AWS network will directly benefit the respective LGUs in their climate and disaster resilience planning.

Multi-sectoral collaboration

For its part, Shell is privileged to participate in an initiative that contributes to capacity-building of LGUs under the framework of a multi-sectoral collaboration. "For us, this initiative is part of the Shell Powering Progress Together advocacy, where we encourage partnerships across public, private and civil society sectors to address present challenges such as climate change and to promote greater societal resilience," explains Shell companies in the Philippines Country Chairman Edgar Chua.

Powering Progress Together (PPT) is a global dialogue on sustainable development fostered by Shell that engages thought leaders and action-makers from the public, private and civil society sectors. The PPT is a venue that primarily discusses the studies and findings of the Shell Scenarios group, which spearheads the company’s practice of exploring plausible alternative visions of the future to help test and strengthen its current business decisions.

With experience in scenario-building for more than 40 years, Shell’s current focus is on building smarter cities of the future, one method of which is by ensuring climate resilience.

"These projects are very much in line with our advocacy on sustainability, particularly urban and environmental resilience,” says Sankie Simbulan, Shell Social Performance Manager and Lead for Shell’s PPT projects. Shell being a leader in power, energy and gas technology, continuously advocates for the best use of our world’s resources to enable sustainable development in the communities it operates in.

Climate resiliency

The Manila Observatory, on its 150th year, is the Philippines’ oldest earth system science research institute.

“We are extremely excited by this partnership with Shell,” stated Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, executive director of the Manila Observatory. “Shell’s support is very critical because it provides access for weather station sites that allow us to collect the data most needed in analyzing hazards and risk. Shell’s leadership in supporting evidence-based public-private partnership enables the team to provide a public service by sharing accurate weather data with communities surrounding the sites. Moreover, it provides opportunities to generate new knowledge through scientific research on climate, and risk and resilience in coastal cities.”

“These coastal cities are vital to socio-economic and ecological resilience,” she added. “They are sites of investment in infrastructure that link them to the national economy, through the services they provide, as well as employment and livelihood for local and migrant populations. All these, however, make them both exposed and vulnerable to extreme events.”

The very first Shell AWS in the country and in the Visayas was recently unveiled at the Shell retail station in Barangay San Rafael, Mandurriao, Iloilo City. Ten Shell sites have already been identified in Iloilo for AWS installation, which include nine Shell gas stations and Shell’s oil depot at Lapus Terminal.

In Davao, a total of 11 AWS units will be installed, with seven in Shell retail sites across Davao, one in the Shell Sasa oil depot and three in LGU offices. The Mindanao network will expand in Cagayan de Oro by August. The complete Shell AWS network is set to be operational within the year.