Climate Change Projections: Our Future Through the Looking Glass
Climate change is projected to accelerate significantly if global emissions of heat-trapping gases continue to increase. The Philippines is one of the countries at greatest risk from present and projected climate-related hazards such as tropical cyclones, floods, landslides, and droughts. Observed changes in extreme weather events and severe climate anomalies include: (1) increased occurrence of heavy rains causing floods and landslides; (2) droughts associated with El Niño Southern Oscillation years causing massive crop failures, water shortages, and forest fires in various parts of the country; and (3) increase in the frequency of cyclones forming/ entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility particularly in Visayas and Mindanao regions.
Climate projections suggest continuous warming in the mid-21st century (2036-2065) using the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report, for both moderate (RCP4.5) and high emission (RCP8.5) scenarios. Multi-model projections also indicate high variability in seasonal average rainfall exceeding 40% of its historical values, with projected reduction over central sections of Mindanao that are beyond the observed rainfall variations in the past. Sea level has risen by nearly double the global average rate over certain parts of the Philippines from 1993 to 2015. Projections show that sea level in the country is expected to increase by approximately 20 cm by the end of the 21st century under the RCP8.5 scenario. Such projected increase in sea level might worsen storm surge impacts on coastal communities.