DOST-PAGASA’s SWERVE project on wind hazard takes spotlight in 6th National R&D Conference

Published November 17, 2021, 6:26 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

A major project of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) seeking to save lives during a typhoon was among the country’s innovations unveiled during the second leg of the 6th National Research and Development Conference (NRDC) on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

(DOST NRDC Facebook page)

The state weather bureau is now flexing its muscles to ensure that the Severe Wind Estimation of Risk Using Vulnerability and Exposure (SWERVE) tool will be available to everyone to save lives during a typhoon, said Karlo J. Timbal of the Impact Assessment and Application Section (IAAS) of the Climatology and Agrometeorology Division of DOST-PAGASA.

He said currently, certain local government units (LGUs), particularly those that have surveyed exposure data are using the SWERVE tool, which was developed by DOST-PAGASA under the program Severe Wind Hazard and Risk Assessment for Cebu City.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and the University of the Philippines Diliman – Institute of Civil Engineering (UPD-ICE) were also involved in the development of the SWERVE tool.

The tool which seeks to assess the impact of severe wind hazard due to tropical cyclones was initially intended for Cebu City

“The program aims to decrease the vulnerability of an area to severe wind brought about by tropical cyclone and increase its resilience by strengthening the capacity of the LGUs and other stakeholders to disaster risk reduction and management efforts,” the DOST said.

Timbal said through SWERVE, users can access the impacts of severe wind hazard caused by typhoons from the provincial level down to the barangay level.

This will aid LGU officials, disaster managers, and planners improve their mitigation strategies and develop a more effective action plan to be implemented in their respective areas to lessen the impact of this natural hazard, he added.

The DOST identified the three components of risk that are needed to be integrated into the SWERVE tool. These are severe wind hazard which determines the strong wind speeds over particular areas; vulnerability, which characterizes the integrity of buildings when exposed to the strong winds; and exposure, which refers to the exposed elements to severe wind hazards such as buildings, population, and infrastructure.

“By combining these three components, they will be able to estimate the risk in terms of physical damage, damage cost, number of damaged structures for either partial or complete state, and number of affected populations,” it said.

The DOST said to date, the methods used in the SWERVE program are applicable for probabilistic and post-event assessments.

It said in the future, PAGASA is looking forward to generating impact-based forecasts as far as the severe wind hazards brought by tropical cyclones are concerned.