Project Spotlight: PAGASA in The Philippines

In the Philippines, our Hydromet Decision Support System (HDSS) and Mesoscale Analysis and Prediction Support System (MAPSS) was first implemented in 2010 for the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). HDSS is a radar integration package, MAPSS is a Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) package based on the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model. Since that initial installation the system has been continually enhanced through the addition of hardware, such as weather radars.

What is PAGASA?

As one can decipher from the long name of the department, it is essentially a do it all research and operations organization for the Philippine government as far as the atmosphere and space are concerned. It was created on December 8th, 1972 with the goal of providing protection against natural disasters as well as to ensure the well-being of the citizen’s financial, and most important, physical safety.  Some of the products PAGASA is responsible for include 24/7 public weather forecasts, severe weather bulletins, shipping forecasts, tropical cyclone updates, sailing information, flood forecasts, agricultural forecasts, climate bulletins, and further research and development of all products.

What did we do?

We installed  HDSS and MAPSS at the PAGASA headquarter in Manila. This integration consisted of the installation of six full racks of hardware to network and process multiple weather radar sites, surface stations, satellite data, WRF,  and drive forecaster display workstations.

What exactly is the Hydromet Decision Support System?

Our HDSS provides tools and displays which are carefully designed to help the users in making real-time decisions related to flash flooding, water resource management, heavy rain events, and severe thunderstorm events.  HDSS contains automated algorithms to detect and alert for hazardous weather situations.

The figure below shows the overall HDSS configuration. Data from multiple sources (left side of figure) are ingested and stored in a central database for further processing. Data are run through a number of algorithms and data and algorithm outputs are served to customized display systems (right side of figure).

Hydromet Diagram
Above is a diagram of our HDSS.

We offer our HDSS as both a custom system or a cloud-based service. Both come with customized and intuitive web-based displays that can integrate with existing hydromet information with unique precipitation estimation, run-off analytics, and nowcasting applications.

What exactly is the Mesoscale Analysis and Prediction Support System?

MAPSS is a complete WRF processing system that contains customized pre and post-processing codes along with a web interface that allows the user to control the WRF configuration. The figure below shows the hardware installed at PAGASA for MAPSS and HDSS processing.

The installation consisted of six racks of hardware including data ingest and processing servers, head and compute nodes, radar processing servers, high speed and archive storage. The figure shows that the system is tied together via an Infiniband switch which provides very high-speed connections among the head and compute nodes and high-speed storage.

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