SB Safety Network Foundation launches Philippine-wide lightning detection network

The INFORM Global Risk Index for 2018 attributed one of Asia’s highest rankings to the Philippines.

The Index is a way to understand and measure the risk of humanitarian crises and disasters, and how the conditions that lead to them affect sustainable development.

The ranking of 5.2 is due, in part, to the Philippines significant exposure to severe weather events such as tropical cyclones and flooding, seismic events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunami; and the complex geography of an archipelago of 7,107 islands of which 2000 are inhabited by an estimated 106 million people.

Three keys to improving resilience to severe weather events in the Philippines are awareness, connectivity and communications. They were among the aspirations of founding Chairman, Jose Dante P. Mara, and his launch of SB Safety Network Foundation in 2015.

The Foundation’s Board is composed of professionals with a wide range of expertise including emergency medicine; information technology and software development; telecommunications; banking and insurance; and research and product development.

The SB Safety Network Foundation receives financial support from the Wukita Foundation Philippines, represented by Chairman Junichi Ukita and Mr. Toshiaki Jinno, and has received highly-valued backing from Mr. Zenji Origuchi’s Japanese Group, Mr. Junichi Ukita of the Wukita Foundation Japan, and Mr. Yasushi Kondo, Chairman of the Tokyo Tech Group.

A major strategic objective for SB Safety Network was the integration of weather forecasting into a disaster and incident management system.

A wide-ranging meteorological observation network provides the data so vital to accurate forecasting. The forecasts in turn, enable government agencies and at-risk communities to take action that can save lives and mitigate the impacts of severe weather events.

In early 2018, SB Safety Network announced the formation of a partnership with MetraWeather Asia and TOA Systems to build a high-resolution lightning detection network covering all of the Philippines.

Lightning is one of the most dangerous and frequently encountered weather hazards. It can take lives, cause severe injuries, damage vital infrastructure, and disrupt operations.

Scientists believe that climate change is escalating the severity of extreme weather events. More lightning strikes are anticipated and will impact South East Asia nations already vulnerable to weather events such as tropical cyclones.

Lightning strikes disrupt airlines and airports; they disrupt power grids and energy distribution networks; damage utility and communications networks; impact mine operations and disrupt the tourism, transport and logistics sectors. People working outdoors in the field such as maintenance crews, services on airport aprons, and farmers and fishermen are particularly exposed and at risk.

The new lightning detection network features more than 20 nationally-distributed sensors. It will enable SB Safety Networks to:

  • Monitor and track lightning and associated storms with precision across the Philippines.
  • Monitor and track offshore storms moving onto the Philippines and in the Philippines Area of Responsibility
  • Monitor and track storms in the South China Sea where there is little observational data currently available
  • Build a database of lightning strikes for the Philippines with sufficient location accuracy (LA) and detection efficiency (DE) to provide reliable post-event analysis for any location in the Philippines.
  • Develop a high-resolution seasonal lightning climatology for the Philippines which includes CG counts, density, polarity and peak current.

From remote control rooms to workers in-the-field, the data will help SB Safety Network’s subscribers and customers to mitigate the risks and impacts of lightning strikes in the Philippines.

Source: MetraWeather. 8 Feb 2018

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