Climate Outlook for March 2023
Photo and infographics by Ralph Lauren Abainza
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp
Aside from localized thunderstorms and potential low pressure areas (LPAs) and tropical cyclones, these weather systems will also likely affect the country this March 2023: Easterlies - the warm and moist winds coming from the Pacific that may bring rains over the eastern sections of the country. Shear line - also known as the Tail-end of a Frontal System, is a line where there is an abrupt change in wind direction or typically a linear area where the cold air (northeast monsoon) and warm air from the Pacific meet. Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) - is an area where the winds from the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere meet. For the shear line and ITCZ, the interaction between the two different air and winds respectively typically leads to the formation of clouds, and eventually rain. While the actual conditions may deviate from the forecast, the climate outlook aims to provide concerned stakeholders with a general idea of what to expect and prepare for in March 2023. RAINFALL OUTLOOK Like in February, generally normal to wetter than normal conditions may still prevail over much of eastern, central, and southern sections of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao this March 2023. The wetter-than-normal conditions over parts of the country can be attributed to the prevailing La Nixa. According to PAGASA, the regions that will likely receive above-normal amounts of rainfall this March 2023 are the Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, and BARMM, together with the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Negros Occidental, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Samar, Davao Occidental, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Surigao del Sur. On the other hand, the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, Mountain Province in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Norte, and La Union in Ilocos Region, and Pampanga in Central Luzon are expected to have generally below normal rainfall. For Ilocos Sur, there is also an increased probability of way below normal rainfall for March 2023. Metro Manila and the rest of the country will likely experience generally normal rainfall conditions this March 2023, according to PAGASA. NUMBER OF DRY DAYS Defined as a day with less than 1 mm of rainfall, determining the likely number of dry days will help farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector on matters such as crop planting and harvesting schedules and even post-harvest activities. According to PAGASA, much of Luzon will likely have 20-27 dry days this March, except for some provinces located in the eastern portions such as Bicol Region, Quirino, Aurora, Quezon, and Marinduque which will likely have below 20 dry days. In the Visayas, the western and central portions will likely have more than 20 dry days, while the eastern portion will only have 15-20 dry days. Much of Mindanao will likely have more than 20 dry days, except for the Caraga region and the provinces of Bukidnon, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, and Davao Oriental. In Caraga, PAGASA forecasts below 15 dry days for Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur. Crops not suitable for frequent rainy weather conditions may not thrive in areas with less than 15 dry days during this month. The reduced number of dry days can be attributed to the prevailing weather systems that usually prolong rainy weather conditions, such as the ITCZ, which caused widespread flooding in the central and southern portions of the country last January. TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK There is a mix of conditions across the country for March 2023. Despite the transition towards the hot dry season, some areas are still likely to experience cooler than normal temperature conditions. Much of Luzon will likely experience normal to warmer than normal temperatures this March 2023, except in parts of MIMAROPA and Bicol Region where cooler than normal weather conditions may prevail. A contrast in expected temperature conditions will likely prevail over Visayas and Mindanao. Much of Visayas will likely experience generally normal to slightly cooler than normal temperature conditions, while much of Mindanao will experience normal to warmer than normal conditions. Surges of the cold winds associated with the northeast monsoon may still bring down temperatures over Extreme Northern Luzon, however, the warm and humid weather will being to dominate in the country. Here are the forecast temperature ranges (in degree celsius) for March 2023: Northern Luzon: 12.5 to 36.4°C Mountainous Luzon: 11.0 to 28.2°C Lowlands Luzon: 16.3 to 37.0°C Metro Manila: 18.5 to 36.5°C Lowlands Visayas: 18.6 to 35.7°C Lowlands Mindanao: 17.6 to 37.9°C Mountainous Mindanao: 13.3 to 35.2°C As much of the country transitions to generally hot and dry weather, the increasingly warm weather may negatively affect some crops, especially if there will be prolonged absences of rain in the area. TROPICAL CYCLONE OUTLOOK March is a typically quiet month in terms of tropical cyclone activity, having an average of only 0.3 from 1948 to 2021. This March 2023, PAGASA only expects up to one (1) tropical cyclone inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). Historically, March tropical cyclones typically either recurve or affect the eastern and central portions of the country. However, it is important to note that even if the country usually does not experience a barrage of tropical cyclones during March, the dominant weather systems, such as the ITCZ and low pressure areas, may still bring widespread rains that may cause flooding and landslides. The rainy and cold weather conditions will likely start tapering off as much of the country transitions to the hot dry season. However, some weather systems, such as the ITCZ, may still cause interruptions in farming activities due to the increased likelihood of flooding and landslides. The information in this article was derived from PAGASA Seasonal Forecast published on their website.