Poster presentations during the LEAN-CC 2012 at Ateneo de Manila University

LEAN CC banner in the Science Education Complex, Ateneo de Manila University

LEAN CC banner in the Science Education Complex, Ateneo de Manila University

by Quirino Sugon Jr.

Last 28-30 June 2012, a seminar entitled “Linking European and Asian Academic Networks: Experiences in Climate Change and Disaster Research and Education” was held in Ateneo de Manila University’s Escaler Hall.  This seminar is within the framework of the Erasmus Mundus’s LEAN-CC, a project funded by the European Commission.  Outside the seminar venue were several posters on climate change done by students from Ateneo de Manila University and from other institutions.  The winning posters received SM gift certificates: Php 5,000 for the first place, Php 3,000 for the second place, and Php 1,000 for the third place.  Below is an interview with the LEAN-CC poster coordinator, Abigail Favis, followed by a list of posters and their abstracts courtesy of Dr. Kendra Gotangco. Ms. Favis and Dr. Gotangco are faculty members of the Department of Environmental Science of Ateneo de Manila University.

A.  INTERVIEW WITH MS. ABIGAIL FAVIS

1.  How did Ateneo became involved in LEAN-CC?

I know that Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ was approached by LEAN-CC partners of Erasmus Mundus program. Fr. Jett then requested Manila Observatory to be involved in the activity.  This task was assigned to Ms. Deanna Marie Olaguer, who was concurrently, the Program Head of Klima and Project Development. When Dr. Kendra Gotangco joined the Manila Observatory, she became the Program Head of Klima, and through this became involved with LEAN-CC. So Manila Observatory through Dr. Kendra Gotangco and Ms. Didi Olaguer worked with the Ateneo and the Office of International Relations to organize the conference.

2.  What is the objective of LEAN-CC?

It is about informing local students of educational opportunities in Europe especially with the different universities that are under the Erasmus Mundus.  The course programs available this year focus on climate change as an issue that will bring us together, the issue that we all share, whether European, Asian, or African.

3.  What is your role in this conference?

I was involved in the poster  exhibit and in the Environmental Science Society.  We sent out letters of invitation promoting the conference.  We received the abstracts and distributed them to the reviewers.  We informed the participants whose poster got accepted for the exhibit.  We assist the judges, collate the scores, and prepare the awarding ceremony.  We announced the winners, took down their posters, and gave it back to them.  All these are just a tiny part of the conference.

4.  Is there a repeat next year?

I would not  know. Kendra may know. I did not even know there is something like this. I think it was a nice conference, very well attended. We had the students who went through JTAA in Erasmus Mundus to give their experience–that was fun.  I think the students enjoyed it. LEAN-CC was a great opportunity for Philippines and our partners in Europe for doing something in terms of climate change education.

5.  Any parting words?

Climate change unites us all.  I think it is something we have in common, though we come from different background situations, countries, and continents.  The discussions brought us closer to strengthen ties and hopefully help our students become global citizens if they decide to pursue graduate studies.  It would be an advantage to give them that opportunity.

B.  LIST OF POSTER PRESENTATIONS

LEAN-CC Poster Exhibit

LEAN-CC Poster Exhibit

1. Faye T. Cruz, Julie Mae B. Dado, Gemma T. Narisma, Modeling local climate extremes in selected regions in the Philippines (2nd Place)
2. Narido, Shaira Jehsarine C., Barez Bryan Mondy M., Vallar, Edgar A., Morris, Vernon, A., Peralta, Teresita, V., Galvez, Maria Cecilia D., Aerosol Characterization using SEM-EDX for Climate Change Modeling
3. Nicole Bautista, Monica Castro, Denise Chua, Kaira Monique Osmena, Manuel Karlo Parungo, Ulysses Joseph Yap, John Wong, Helen Sigua, Issa Reyes-Lao, Poster 3. A Case-Control Study of Factors Associated with Mortality during Tropical Storm Ketsana
4. Oscar Torres, Edgar Vallar, Esperanza Cabrera, Clarisse Yeung, Jaran Jainhuknan, and Amornmart Jarantrungtawee, Climate change disease mitigation through characterization of airborne bacteria
5. Gabriel Ignacio Alejo, Katrina Isabelle Dela Cruz, Ma. Presentacion Estrada, Julienne Marie Ramos, Janelle Nicole Siu, Michelle Wendy Te, Sheldon Walter Wong, A Reliability Study on the Basic Evacuation and Assessment Tool for Evacuation Centers in the Philippines
6. Mark Angelo M. Alcantara, Barbara Jeanne D. Caballeros, Aileen Paula A. Chua, Alfonso Miguel R. Regala, Dennis Raymond L. Sacdalan, Kevin Eric R. Santos, An Ecologic Study on the Presumed Impacts of Climate Change and Seasonal Patterns on Acute Respiratory Infection and Health Services Utilization in Nueva Ecija, from 1999 to 2008 (3rd Place)
7. Marina G. Yao, Chi-Feng Cheng, Drexel H. Camacho, Activated Carbon from Pili (Canarium ovatum Engl.) Nut Shell: Surface Amination, Characterization and Evaluation as Adsorbent for Postcombustion CO2 Capture
8. Matthew A. Cua, Emilyn Espiritu Ph.D, Nathaniel Libatique Ph.D , Charlotte Kendra Gotangco Ph.D, Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Climate Change Resiliency in the Philippines: A Technology Suitability and Feasibility Study (1st Place)

LEAN CC Poster: Modelling local climate extremes in selected regions in the Philippines

LEAN CC Poster: Modelling local climate extremes in selected regions in the Philippines

Poster 1. Modeling local climate extremes in selected regions in the Philippines (2nd Place)
Faye T. Cruz1*, Julie Mae B. Dado2, Gemma T. Narisma1,2
1Regional Climate Systems, Manila Observatory, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines
2Atmospheric Science Program, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines
Email contacts: fcruz(at)observatory.ph; narisma(at)observatory.ph; jbdado(at)gmail.com
Telephone: +6324265921; Fax: +6324260847

A regional climate model is used to simulate the climate of selected areas in the Philippines to determine its capability in representing climate extremes. The baseline climate (from 1961 to 1990) is modeled over areas including Albay and Leyte island, using the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) Regional Climate Model (RegCM3) at a 20 km horizontal resolution with an additional simulation over Albay at 12 km resolution. Model output is validated with observations from both station and gridded reanalyses. Results show the ability of the model to reproduce the observed seasonal variability in mean temperature and rainfall, but the magnitudes of the variables are slightly lower than observed. The model also tends to overestimate temperature extremes. Both model and observed data show a decreasing trend in the number of hot days and cool nights at the selected sites. However, there are fewer occurrences of extremely wet days in the model compared with observations, particularly in Legazpi and Tacloban.

LEAN CC Poster: Aerosol characterization using SEM-EDX for climate change modeling

LEAN CC Poster: Aerosol characterization using SEM-EDX for climate change modeling

Poster 2. Aerosol Characterization using SEM-EDX for Climate Change Modeling

Narido, Shaira Jehsarine C.a, Barez Bryan Mondy M. a, Vallar, Edgar A. a, 1,
Morris, Vernonb, *, A., Peralta, Teresita, V.c, *, Galvez, Maria Cecilia D. a, *

aLIDAR Laboratory, Physics Department, De La Salle University, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines

1edgar.vallar(at)dlsu.edu.ph; 524-46-11 loc. 424

bDepartment of Chemistry and Graduate Program in Atmospheric Sciences, Howard University,
2400 Sixth Street, NW, Washington, DC, United States of America

*Corresponding author

cEnvironment Monitoring Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources,
DENR Compound, Visayas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Aerosol research is an indispensible component of climate change study. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has actually attributed the largest uncertainty in climate simulations to aerosol behavior in the atmosphere. Thus, it is important to understand the behavior of aerosols through methods such as modeling and characterization. This work involves the characterization of aerosols using a JEOL 5310 Scanning Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis (SEM-EDX). Particulate matter was sampled for 12 hours using a size-segregating six-stage sampler at De La Salle University – Manila (14O33.867’N, 120O59.577’E). A total of 144 particles were arbitrarily chosen from each filter. The shape and elemental composition of each particle were analyzed. Data showed the particles as having spherical to conglomerate structures. Particles were mainly composed of Carbon, Magnesium, Calcium, Zirconium, Chromium, Iron, and Copper.

Keywords: Aerosol, Climate Change, Scanning Electron Microscope, Chemical composition, Particle Shape

LEAN CC Poster: A case control study on the risk factors associated with mortality and survival during typhoon Ondoy in Marikina City and Quezon City

LEAN CC Poster: A case control study on the risk factors associated with mortality and survival during typhoon Ondoy in Marikina City and Quezon City

Poster 3. A Case-Control Study of Factors Associated with Mortality during Tropical Storm Ketsana

Nicole BAUTISTA1, Monica CASTRO1, Denise CHUA1, Kaira Monique OSMEÑA2, Manuel Karlo PARUÑGO1, Ulysses Joseph YAP1, John WONG1, Helen SIGUA, Issa REYES-LAO

1Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health
2Cebu Institute of Medicine

Objective: To determine the factors associated with mortality during Typhoon Ondoy.
Participants: 69 relatives of those who died during the Typhoon Ondoy were treated as cases. 69 participants who also lived in the areas of Marikina City and Quezon City were matched with control informants to verify the validity of the answers of the case proxies. Cases were matched with controls on the similarity of the location of their residence during the time of Typhoon Ondoy.

Main outcome measures: Odds ratio to estimate the likelihood of the occurrence of death among those exposed to a particular risk factor during the time of Typhoon Ondoy.
Results: With a Confidence Interval of 95%, analyses shows that living with a person with disability (OR 14.479) and having no previous experience with emergency (4.421) are the factors that contributed to the mortality during Typhoon Ondoy in Quezon City and Marikina City. One’s overall health (OR 0.164), civil status (OR 0.009), and educational attainment (OR 0.120) also proved to be significant protective factors contributing to survival during a disaster such as Typhoon Ondoy. The model had a Nagelkerke R Square of 0.692 that translates to a model is 69.2% effective. The variable, “No Previous Experience with Emergency”, turned out to be “fair” based on the Kappa statistic with the standards of Landis and Koch. Therefore, this can be considered as a significant variable.

Conclusions: The factors that contributed to the mortality of the victims in Quezon City and Marikina City during Typhoon Ondoy are living with physical disabilities and previous experiences with emergency, while one’s overall health, civil status, and educational attainment are protective factors.

Recommendations: Local disaster plans are recommended to shift and broaden perspective to include a more specific course of action for the vulnerable population. Priority must also be given to people with disabilities as well as the people who live with them. To validate the information given by case proxies in this type of study, the Kappa Statistic can be used.

Keywords: Ketsana, Ondoy, typhoon, Philippines, flood, Disaster Management

LEAN CC Poster: Climate change disease mitigation through characterization of airborne bacteria

LEAN CC Poster: Climate change disease mitigation through characterization of airborne bacteria

Poster 4. Climate change disease mitigation through characterization of airborne bacteria

Oscar Torres1*, Edgar Vallar2, Esperanza Cabrera3, Clarisse Yeung1, Jaran Jainhuknan4, and Amornmart Jarantrungtawee4

1Department of Chemistry, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines, 1004
2Department of Physics, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines, 1004
3Department of Biology, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines, 1004
4Bruker BioSpin AG, Bangkok, Thailand, 10400
*corresponding author: oscar.torres(at)dlsu.edu.ph

Abstract

Human health is being severely affected by climate change. One possible health effect of climate change is reduced air quality through increases in ground-level ozone, changes in fine particulate matter and changes in allergens. Further, food-, water-, and animal-borne diseases are on the rise due to climate change. This work involves the characterization of microbial aerosols since they are a potential health risk as they can be pathogenic following inhalation or membrane absorption. Pathogens in microbial aerosols have been linked to respiratory infections, tuberculosis, and measles. These infectious diseases are pervasive in the developing countries like the Philippines. Since microbial aerosols are airborne in nature, they could be transferred with ease and are a threat to public health. The study of microbial aerosols gains more importance in the light of bioterrorist attacks using airborne bacteria.

In the Philippines, previous reports showed the alarming airborne bacterial count in air-conditioned buses and ship cabins. Though informative, bacterial count is neither sufficient to assess public health safety nor enough to indicate climate change. In this communication, we identified the composition of microbial aerosols at given atmospheric conditions. We employed Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) to characterize microbial aerosols at the DLSU cafeteria. Mass spectral analyses identified the presence of bacterial genus Streptococcus, Acinetobacter, Bacillus, Clostridium, Micrococcus, and Dermabacter. To the best of our knowledge, characterization of airborne bacteria by MALDI-TOF is a pioneering work in the Philippines.

LEAN CC Poster: A reliability study on the basic evacuation assessment tool for evacuation centers in the Philippines

LEAN CC Poster: A reliability study on the basic evacuation assessment tool for evacuation centers in the Philippines

Poster 5. A Reliability Study on the Basic Evacuation and Assessment Tool for Evacuation Centers in the Philippines

Gabriel Ignacio Alejo
Katrina Isabelle Dela Cruz
Ma. Presentacion Estrada
Julienne Marie Ramos
Janelle Nicole Siu*
Michelle Wendy Te
Sheldon Walter Wong

Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences 2013
Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Heights Campus
Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City 1108, Philippines
(632) 426-6002 loc. 5618 (Health Sciences Office)
09178411910 (corresponding author)
crescent.jan(at)gmail.com (corresponding author)

The study aims to create the Basic Evacuation Assessment Tool. The tool should allow administrators of evacuation centers in the Philippines to assess the level of their centers’ performance during natural disasters. The study will be consulting international (The Sphere Project) and local (Pocket Emergency Tool) standards to create a scaled questionnaire which will be streamlined and made more relevant by Focused Group Discussions/Key Informant Interviews with evacuation center administrators and LGU personnel. Tests for the reliability of the tool will be run via Chronbach’s Alpha Test. The selected areas for the study are various LGUs in the Philippines that have a familiarity with disaster management. Those in charge of managing evacuation centers will take part in Focused Group Discussions/Key Informant Interview. A Focused Group Discussion/Key Informant Interview with three to five questions sourced from variables researched and found in the guidelines for evacuation centers will be the basis for drafting the tool. A reliability test using Cronbach’s Alpha will be applied after the construction and test of the drafted tool. Once found reliable and final, it will be presented to the study partners and local authorities.

Keywords: disaster management, evacuation center assessment tool

LEAN CC Poster: An ecologic study on the presumed impacts of climate change and seasonal patterns on acute respiratory infection and helath services utilization in Nueva Ecija from 1999 to 2008

LEAN CC Poster: An ecologic study on the presumed impacts of climate change and seasonal patterns on acute respiratory infection and helath services utilization in Nueva Ecija from 1999 to 2008

Poster 6. An Ecologic Study on the Presumed Impacts of Climate Change and Seasonal Patterns on Acute Respiratory Infection and Health Services Utilization in Nueva Ecija, from 1999 to 2008 (3rd Place)

Mark Angelo M. Alcantara, Barbara Jeanne D. Caballeros, Aileen Paula A. Chua*,
Alfonso Miguel R. Regala, Dennis Raymond L. Sacdalan, Kevin Eric R. Santos
Bachelor of Sciences in Health Sciences
Health Sciences Department, Science Education Complex (SEC) A Building, Ateneo de Manila University
Correspondence to: Aileen Paula A. Chua, Tel: 09175601824, Email: aileenchua20(at)gmail.com

Limited understanding of the relationship between weather changes and disease impedes appropriate preventive intervention. To aid in forming appropriate action, this study identified probable relationships that climate change and seasonal patterns have with prevalence of acute respiratory infections (ARI) and health services utilization. Methods. This mixed-ecologic study explored the consequences that temperature, rainfall, humidity and wind had on ARI prevalence and rural health unit (RHU) consultations in Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Monthly data for ARI and consults were obtained through consultation logbooks from all RHUs in the province, while climate data were provided by the Manila Observatory. These were then examined using linear regression, cross correlation, and spatial analyses. Results. Further studies are necessary to establish climate change; however, seasonality of weather variables was established. Results showed that as relative humidity increased, so did both ARI (Pearson’s R=0.605) and consults prevalence (Pearson’s R=0.584, CL=95%). Wind speed variations likewise coincided with changes in ARI prevalence (R2=0.088, P value=0.045). Spatial analysis depicted an unequal distribution of all variables, with ARI and consultations being more prevalent in the eastern half of the province. Conclusions. The occurrence of ARI and consults follow cyclical fluctuations and differences in geographic distribution similar to seasonal weather patterns. They increase during humid conditions, when damp air is most likely to promote bacterial, fungal, and viral growth, and decrease during less humid months. Wind speed, on the other hand, increases ARI cases possibly by spreading pathogens through the air. These findings suggest implications on disease causation and prevention.

Key Words: Climate change, Seasonal Patterns, Acute Respiratory Infection, Health Services Utilization, Nueva Ecija

LEAN CC Poster: Activated Carbon from Pili (Canarium ovatum Engl.)

LEAN CC Poster: Activated Carbon from Pili (Canarium ovatum Engl.)

Poster 7. Activated Carbon from Pili (Canarium ovatum Engl.) Nut Shell: Surface Amination, Characterization and Evaluation as Adsorbent for Postcombustion CO2 Capture

Marina G. Yao,1* Chi-Feng Cheng§, Drexel H. Camacho*
1MS Chemistry
*Chemistry Department, De La Salle University
2401 Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines
§Department of Chemistry and Center for Nanotechnology,
Chung Yuan Christian University, Chung-Li 320, Taiwan.

Abstract

The world is in search for technologies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Among the greenhouse gasses, the dramatic increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is very alarming. The most realistic, but costly, short term technology on the capture and sequestration of post-combustion CO2 is achieved by amine scrubbing of industrial flue gases. To mitigate CO2 emissions, adsorption technologies using activated carbons are studied for CO2 capture hence new sources of activated carbon for environmental applications are desired. This study explores the waste nut shell of a Philippine indigenous Pili tree (Canarium ovatum Engl.) as a potential source of activated carbon. The fixed carbon content of charred Pili nut shell was determined to be high (86.81%) making it an ideal carbon precursor for the production of activated carbon. Nitrogen sorption analysis of the Pili nut shell activated chemically by NaOH showed high surface area (SBET = 817 m2/g) and large pore volume (VDR = 0.54 cm3/g) compared to the unactivated Pili nut shell. To enhance the adsorption capacity for CO2 capture application, the surface of the activated carbon was modified through acid-base treatment and impregnation of different amines (triethylenetetramine, pentaethylenehexamine and polyethyleneimine), resulting to amine-terminated moieties on the carbon surface. Low surface areas, narrow pore volumes and dramatic change in morphology (from uniform geometric shape to spongy microstructures) were observed via nitrogen sorption analysis and scanning electron microscopy, respectively. XRD patterns of activated samples showed a turbostatic structure, intermediate between graphite and amorphous states. The amine modified samples gave slight decrease in interlayer spacing (d(002)) resulting to formation of micro crystallites that may promote CO2 adsorption. Indeed, CO2 sorption analysis showed enhanced CO2 capture where the activated carbon modified with pentaethylenehexamine moieites on the surface gave the highest CO2 adsorption. The CO2 capture mechanism in the amine-treated activated carbon from Pili nut shell is proposed to operate via chemisorption process.

Keywords: Pili, Canarium ovatum Engl., Activated Carbon, CO2 Capture, Adsorbent

LEAN CC Poster: Using unmanned aerial vehicles for climate change resiliency in the Philippines: a technological suitability and feasibility study

LEAN CC Poster: Using unmanned aerial vehicles for climate change resiliency in the Philippines: a technological suitability and feasibility study

Poster 8. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Climate Change Resiliency in the Philippines: A Technology Suitability and Feasibility Study (1st Place)

Matthew A. Cua*1, Emilyn Espiritu Ph.D1, Nathaniel Libatique Ph.D2 , Charlotte Kendra Gotangco Ph.D1
MS Environmental Science, 1Environmental Science Department, 2Department of Electronics Communication & Computer Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines, matthewcua@ateneoinnovation.org

ABSTRACT

The Philippines is faced with multiple problems such as food security, resiliency, efficiency of agriculture, multiple extreme weather events, multiple geophysical hazards, and environmental degredation. Climate change has aggravated these problems and issues already faced by the country and designing resiliency would require innovative approaches and uses of technologies already available.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are multirole assets and platforms that, when combined with other technologies such as ICT, image processing and environmental science could enable the development of new sciences, technologies and techniques for climate change resiliency.
In this paper, the author aims to assess the performance and, more importantly, the suitability of the use of UAVs for applications in disaster science and environmental sustainability in the Philippine context, to complement or as an alternative to other available tools such as remote sensing products.

A commercially available UAV system coupled with a point and shoot camera and a HD Camcorder was used to map out and video a 4th class municipality (Javier) in the Island of Leyte, one of the islands of the Philipine archiepelago. Preliminary images of river erosion, landslides, various land uses, lake health and rural development have been taken using the system.
The UAV system employed in this study provided high resolution images that allowed higher resolution classification of various type of canopy cover, land-use and vegetation. These information can be used to aid the local government in reducing risk and vulnerability. The use of aerial images and videos as visual aids has also helped the municipality understand and dissiminate informaiton on climate changes specifically flood risk and river and coastal erosion . The high resolution image may also prove to be essential in baseline forest mapping and carbon sequestration modelling.

Keywords : Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Disaster Science, Resiliency

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PSHS students’s Summer internship at the Environmental Science Department and Manila Observatory

Meeting of PSHS students and faculty representatives of SOSE and Manila Observatory

From left to right: Dr. Quirino Sugon (PS), Godfrey Robenio (PSHS), Alyssa Inocencio (PSHS), Dr. Gemma Narisma (PS), Nina Domingo (PSHS), Francesca Gaviola (PSHS), Marivi Cabason (SOSE), and Dr. Emilyn Espiritu (ES)

Last April 10, students from Philippine Science High School (PSHS) met with the faculty representatives of the Department of Physics (PS), the Department of Environmental Science (ES), and Manila Observatory (MO) for the Summer Internship Program.  They met at the Dean’s Conference Room in the Science Complex.  There were four students from PSHS-Quezon City: (1) Francesca Angela D. Gaviola, (2) Godfrey Angelo R. Robenio, (3) Alyssa D. Inocencio, and (4) Nina Gabriel G. Domingo.  And there was one student from PSHS-Clark: Beatrice Perlas.  The faculty representatives were Dr. Emilyn Q. Espiritu (ES), Dr. Gemma Teresa Narisma (PS), and Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr. (PS).  Also present in the meeting was Ms. Marivi Cabason as the representative of the Dean of the School of Science and Engineering (SOSE).

Ateneo Physics News (APN) interviewed key personnel who were directly involved in the internship program.  APN also interviewed one of the students.  Below are their responses:

1. Khervin Cheng Chua, Researcher, Regional Climate Systems, Manila Observatory. Khervin is finishing his masters from University of Hawaii. His field is on meteorology.

We are suppose to have three interns in the Regional Climate Systems. But after talking to them, they all wanted to go through training. I am doing MS Excel work and data analysis. They wanted to learn that. Our plan is to teach them techniques in MS Excel an hour every morning or hand them over to Genie Lorenzo to work on her stuff. For now they do data analysis—that’s the plan this week. Tomorrow, when they finally choose the data set, they will work on the MS Excel techniques they have been learning. So far, I taught them how to manipulate data in Excel. We have gone through Excel programming: how to do stuff manually and use formulas to make it faster. Eventually we will do scripts to make computations really fast, so that we can process thousands and thousands of rows of data. They can choose between two projects.

There is a black bug infestation in some provinces. They are suppose to present on where and when these infestations occur. We have PAGASA data that we could process and check the climate during those periods in time. We also have historical data from 1901 at Manila Observatory. They will clean the data. Processing ideally starts next week. We can get three of them to do graphing and teach them plotting philosophies. That is, how to best visualize different types of data. Is it better to use line graph, bar graph, or frequency curve? We’ll play around with these the whole of next week. On the last four weeks, we they shall go back to their data sets and apply graphing techniques. That’s a lot of computer work.

 Genie Lorenzo does the operational stuff for the students. You may like to talk to her. I just handle them an hour each day. Most of the time they are with Genie.

Genie Lorenzo with the PSHS students at the Library of Manila Observatory

Genie Lorenzo (leftmost) teaching PSHS students Python programming at the Library of Manila Observatory

2. Genie Lorenzo, Researcher, Urban Air Quality Program, Manila Observatory

At the moment my work is to test the weather stations to make sure that the data is going into the database; I also prepare the database for the 30 weather stations that we are getting soon in the next months. In the past couple of months, what I have been doing is just those things.

We have the Davies Vantage Pro weather stations. They are commercially available and they perform well: they follow that standards of NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology) in US. What is nice about them is that if you have a station, a router, and a power source, you will be able to send data through the internet right away in real time. We shall deploy 30 stations in around Manila to help in early warning and traffic management. The modelers in the Regional Climate Systems of Manila Observatory will also benefit from the dense network for mesoscale modeling.

I made the Philippine Science High School interns go through the process that I am doing. The first week is installation of the weather station for testing. We are testing it here in MO to check for correlations. They shall set up the weather station themselves. The week after that, we shall start with data processing. Khervin taught them how to do the Excel stuff. Next time, they will learn how a tipping bucket measures the volume in millimeters of rain. We are a sort of going through the meteorological parameters one at a time. Last week they were looking at wind data. They began with vector averages of wind speed and directions. For us to automate this, we need to write a script. They learned Python just to do the averaging. After wind parameters, we shall do next solar radiation and temperature.

At the end of their internship, I wish them to acquire three skills: (1) Understand how the instruments measure the particular parameters: wind, rain, solar radiation, and temperature; (2) proces the data using MS Excel and Python; (3) see the larger scheme of things.

We are deploying in certain areas around Metro Manila. The other day we took a field trip around the campus. We gazed at the mountains. I pointed to the direction of the water shed where we deployed the rain gauges. We went to Ateneo High School and saw the Marikina Valley. This allowed them to appreciate the flow of water from the mountains.

3. Godfrey Angelo R. Robenio, PSHS Student.

What we are doing right now is that we are programming to find the wind direction given data in degrees using python. The first time we did was to use Cartesian coordinates. North is 90 degrees. This is wrong: it should be zero degrees. We also got confused with clockwise and counterclockwise directions. There is also wrong data that we have to correct by hand. Then we have to program. We just started to learn Python last week. There were many bugs.

We are incoming fourth year. We want to be scientists. Probably, I’ll take Molecular Biology or Genetics. But in this summer elective, I want to learn something that is not related to Biology. I am happy I learned techniques that we can probably use, such as Excel and Python programming.

I definitely recommend that other PSHS take the internship here.

Abigail Favis

Abigail Favis (ES)

4. Abby Favis, Faculty, Environmental Science Department

We have two students from Philippine Science High School (PSHS) this summer. One from Quezon City campus and the other from Clark. They are Beatrix Perlas and Nina Domingo.

We have no current projects this summer. But we are doing our laboratory class in environmental management. We are taking tree inventory and herbarium samples, and identify the significance of the tree species. The students also help in analyzing traffic data. We are doing statistical analysis of traffic in terms of car volume flow for the campus. We are doing mainly these three activities.

My impression is that they are very diligent and responsible. They do the work very well, sometimes even ahead of the college students. They are very pleasant to work with. They don’t complain. They are courteous and disciplined. They already have a training in environmental science. They are familiar with ecology and what we are studying. They know statistics and they help us with data processing. I hope they would enroll here.

Dr. Reinabelle Reyes to give a talk at Ateneo de Manila University on 8 Feb 2012: “Birth and Death of the Milky Way”

The birth and death of the Milky Way by Dr. Reinabelle Reyes

"The birth and death of a galaxy" by Dr. Reinabelle Reyes

The Birth and Death of the Milky Way
by Reinabelle Reyes, Ph.D.
8 February 2012, Wednesday
6:00-7:30 pm ( New time slot!)
Faura AVR

Talk Abstract:

Our Milky Way galaxy is one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the  Universe today. In this talk, I will use the latest astronomical  observations and cosmological simulations to tell the story of how  galaxies formed over the last ten billion years, and how our own Milky  Way galaxy will meet its end a “mere” three billion years from now.

About the Speaker:

Reinabelle Reyes completed her BS Physics from the Ateneo de Manila  University in 2005, summa cum laude, and her Ph.D. in Astrophysics  from Princeton University in 2011. She was awarded the Chambliss  Astronomy Achievement Student Award by the American Astronomical  Society for her contribution to the discovery of the largest number  obscured quasars to date.

Reina is currently a fellow at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological  Physics, University of Chicago. Her research interests include  observational cosmology (weak gravitational lensing) and galaxy  formation (disk galaxy kinematics).

For inquiries please contact the Office of the Dean, School of Science
and Engineering at 426-6001 ext 5602.

==============================================================================
ABIGAIL MARIE T. FAVIS
Ateneo Environmental Management Coalition
Office of the Vice President for the Loyola Schools
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel No.: (623)426.6001 extension 5008
http://ls.ateneo.edu/aemc/

Department of Environmental Science
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel No.: (623)426.6001 extension 5650
Telefax No: (632)426.4321
==============================================================================

An Interview with Dr. Kendra Gotangco Castillo, Program Manager of Klima Climate Change Center of Manila Observatory

by Quirino Sugon Jr.

Dr. Charlotte Kendra Gotangco Castillo

Dr. Kendra Gotangco Castillo

Charlotte Kendra Gotangco Castillo, Summa cum Laude and Class Valedictorian of Ateneo de Manila University batch 2004, with the degree of BS Physics minor in Philosophy, has finished her Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in Purdue University, Indiana this 2011 and is now back to the Philippines working as Program Manager of the Klima Climate Change Center of Manila Observatory. Kendra’s work centers on the climate change science-policy nexus and human-nature dynamics. Her most recent research focused on modeling different tropical forest deforestation rates, analyzing both the carbon and non-carbon or physical impacts on climate, and exploring the policy implications, particularly with regards to REDD. She has also worked on the co-benefits aspect of managing climate change, such as synergizing climate change adaptation with disaster risk management, and integrating climate change mitigation into sustainable development. She is interested in the concept of “science management,” approaching complex environmental problems with a big-picture perspective and harnessing interdisciplinary knowledge, methods, and skills.

Below is a transcript of an interview with Kendra by the Ateneo Physics News:

1. How were you able to go to Purdue University?

I applied through the PAEF (Philippine American Educational Foundation) for the Fulbright grant. This grant is simply a mechanism to allow students to study in the US, if you make it through the selection process. The Philippine Fulbright Commission will assist you with GRE, TOEFL, and application fees. They will help you identify schools to match your needs and interests. After coming up with a short list of academic programs, they will send applications to the schools. It’s very centralized—just one application package. They will also source out other funding opportunities and grants for PhD because Fulbright support is only for 2 years. Beyond that, you are responsible for your funding with the help of your adviser. Unfortunately, for hard sciences and technology, this traditional grant doesn’t apply. They have another Science and Technology Fulbright grant but the competition is worldwide as far as I know. For the typical grant, though even I am from hard sciences, I was still accepted because my interest was in environmental studies. I value both competencies – the science side and the management/policy side. I want to be able to help translate research results into something usable in other fields such as in the governance, in crafting better policies. That is why I wanted an interdisciplinary program. So I went to Fulbright and applied for environmental studies, which was an eligible category under the heading of “International Issues”.

2. What is life like in Purdue University?

Purdue University is located in West Lafayete, Indiana. It’s really a university town. If someone asks who is the biggest employer in the city, it is Purdue. It is very unlike studying here where we are very urbanized and cosmopolitan. West Lafayette is a conservative city. It is heteregenous only because of the international students that Purdue brings in.  Businesses cater to student population. What is nice about the community is the influence of the university in its development as a learning community. For example, there is a “Spring Fling” every year that caters to families in the community. It is an outdoor event where the different departments post exhibits, the most popular of which is the “Bug Bowl”. There’s also an organization called Purdue Convocations who bring learning and culture to the community by bringing in Broadway shows, concerts and other musical artists. . These events are accessible via a short walk from your apartment. That was how the community was like.

Regarding access to resources, I was blown away. It’s unlike anything we have here. Perhaps it’s a standard for American universities. But for me coming from here, it makes us see how far behind we are. Every student has an alloted space in file servers. Just login any terminal on campus and you pull up your desktop settings and documents. Computing clusters can be accessed for free. Journal articles can be downloaded off-campus. Software is discounted. There are a number of grants available to students for travel and conferences, which we do not have here. Because of the amazing access to resources, there were times that I was tempted to stay. You could do so much more with these resources at hand. But what would happen if everyone thought that way and not go home? Nobody would try to establish these here in our country. It may be though that some things like developing what is the equivalent of Oakridge National Labs is really out of reach for a developing country. So we must do the best with with what we have. It’s a different kind of challenge.

The downside about life there was that you miss your support system. If you are an international student, it is hard enough to leave your loved ones, but then you also have to deal with a totally different culture and climate. The winters are so cold and dark unlike anything that you have ever experienced here. Times like that, depression is a real thing. Before I left, I said, “Mind over matter lang ‘yan.” When I got there I realized it was not that easy. It is a serious issue that any student thinking of studying abroad will have to contend with at one point or the other. Because it was in Indiana, it is not like East Coast or West Coast with many Pinoy favorite foods, with venues where kababayans come to do a cultural thing. We are a small Filipino community there, so we try to help each other out. We have one rule there: Pay it forward. People help new people coming in. This year, there are three new Pinoy grad students at Purdue. So we passed on things to them like our celphone plans, furniture, etc.. We met with them to tell stories about life there and answer their questions. Life abroad is just so difficult for an individual. We evolve a second family. Support systems are needed so that you can survive grad school.

3. Describe your adviser.

My adviser was Kevin Robert Gurney. He was one of those people who juggle a lot of balls in the air. He is involved in both science and policy . He was very good in both. Maybe that is why he wanted to get me as his student, because in my application I said I am interested in interdisciplinary studies. My program was Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. But even if it was a “Science” degree, because my adviser had an interdisciplinary bias; and because we had leeway to design programs, we put together courses in science and other fields, such as Communicating Climate Change, public policy, and a course integrating models in Climate Science and Policy. I am happy that he gave me that leeway. In this way I did not let go of my other interests. He let me be independent. It so happened that I was the only person working on my particular topic. Other labs have many people doing parts of one project. In my topic we were not yet successful in getting more funding. I finished without us getting the grant. So I worked independently compared to other students who were working together. But it worked out for me. It gave me the flexibility with my time and the ability to come home during Summer and Christmas breaks. I could take my work home with me. For his part, he made himself available for consultation. I was working with a model that he was not himself using. So he gave contacts of people that could help me. That is why I was able to spend three months to NCAR Colorado—three months to better learn the Community Climate System Model version 4. So I really appreciate his making opportunities available to me.

4. Why did you come back to the Philipines?

It is part of the Fulbright contract. But I really intended to come back anyway, because I felt I may be more needed here. There are more things that I can accomplish here. I can make a difference. I do not know if that is being arrogant. I prefer to call it being optimistic. Besides, all my loved ones are still here. You never know how deeply rooted you are until you uproot yourself. I wanted the opportunity to be independent and define my own rules on how to lead my life, but in the end I realized how much I was still tied to my home. So it is a balance, I think. And I guess, it goes for all international students. You have to have sense of being anchored to something. It doesn’t mean you are being tied down. It is like being a kite – you can fly as far and as high as you can without fear of being cut off and floating aimlessly. It is like being a tree – the ones with the deepest roots are those that can grow the tallest.

5. What is your current job?

I am the program manager of Manila Observatory’s Climate Change Assistance Program, which also houses the Klima Climate Change Center.

6. What is your vision and mission for this program?

That is still in the process of being defined, as we are still in discussion as a group. I do not want to be dictatorial. There is value in considering different perspectives. It allows me the opportunity to work with the science but to situate it in a bigger context. Now we are taking hard science and channelling it to generate results that matters, so the efforts of scientists also don’t go to waste. We would like to be able to work in the science-society and policy nexus. I find that there is a lot to learn here, especially in dealing with governance issues. Again, it is a different challenge. If we don’t vary our challenges, we dont grow. I am stepping out of my comfort zone but hopefully also expanding it in the process.

7. Are you teaching?

I am applying to teach part time in the Physics and Environmental Science Departments, because I like to teach, to have a chance to mentor someone, to pay it forward. The challenge is to juggle the MO and Klima duties with the teaching duties, because Klima is in a transitional stage and moving in new direction right now. It takes more work to get the ball rolling. I am hopeful that I would be able to handle one or two courses. I don’t want to let go of teaching aspect.

8. What do you want to say to physics students?

Physics can open doors for them because of the way they are trained to make connections and understand at a deeper level. Their analytical, critical, problem-solving, and trouble shooting skills will be crucial in continuously learning and exploring, in the sciences and beyond. They can try interdisciplinary work. I know that here in the Philippines people often ask where will you going to end up. If you’re in physics, it is true that compared to business, we do not make as much as we would in other countries. But one thing that I like about what we do is that we address really fundamental questions about existence spanning different contexts, cultures, and time. So there is always an opportunity to something relevant to the world. But the challenge is to translate the science into something usable that is beneficial to the community. This is the next step a scientist should take. Ateneans are men for others. If you love what you do and you do it well, the money will follow. So for me, in making career decisions, it is personal fulfilment over money. Again that is probably being too optimistic. But I know people who live that way so it is possible.

Ateneo Physics News: Thank you, Kendra, for the wonderful interview.

Kendra: Thank you, too. For me, it was cathartic.

Installation of solar panels in General Nakar, Quezon province: a project of Dr. Tess Perez and the Ateneo Innovation Center

by Quirino Sugon Jr.

Dr. Tess Perez (second from the left) with men from Barangay Anoling, General Nakar, Quezon City.

Dr. Tess Perez (second from the left) with men from Barangay Anoling, General Nakar, Quezon City. Above them is their first solar-powered light bulb

Last first week of August, Dr. Tess Perez of the Department of Environmental Science and Mr. Paul Cabacungan of the Ateneo Innovation Center conducted a training on solar panel installation at Barangay Anoling, General Nakar, Quezon Province.  The lighting was set up in a small farm. To make the project sustainable, the men in the community were trained to set up the solar panel, use the current generated during the day to charge a car battery, and use the car battery to light up the bulbs at night.  The men were also  trained to trouble shoot.

The municipality of General Nakar is a hilly place, perfect for refuge of guerrilla fighters under the command of General Guillermo Nakar in World War II before the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor in May 1942 until the fateful day of Nov 1942 when Gen. Nakar was betrayed, captured, and executed for refusing to submit to Japan even in exchange for his freedom. Today, the hills remain treacherous. Farmers who plant upland rice, lanzones, dalandan, and rambutan have no access to farm-to-market roads; it was only in October 2010 that the agricultural tramline system was being proposed in Sitio Cablao, Barangay Pagsangahan in General Nakar.  The transportation costs are prohibitive, the market price for agricultural goods are cheap, and the fruits end up rotten.

Quezon province houses two coal-fired power plants which supplies power to the Luzon grid: the 735 MW Team Energy Pagbilao Power Plant in the municipality of Pagbilao and the 440 MW Quezon Power Limited in the municipality of Mauban.  Electicity is provided by the Manila Electric Company to Lucena and  and 10 municipalities, the cooperative QUEZELCO I to 23 municipalities, and the cooperative QUEZELCO II to 10 municipalities–one of them is General Nakar.

According to Dr. Tess Perez, in Barangay Anoling of General Nakar, there is an intermittent current supply and frequent brownout. She observed that getting a line from QUEZELCO  is expensive.   But she said that investing in a small solar lighting is equivalent to all the expenses for getting an electrical line.  A small solar lighting set up can be set up to support simple electric needs of the 3-4 houses in this part of the municipality. The system must, however, be well maintained and the solar panels must be protected from being broken or stolen. During typhoon season, falling trees may destroy the solar panel.

The local government was not yet involved in the project, but Dr. Perez said that the project will eventually be explained to the Barangay Captain. The solar lighting project at Barangay Anoling will be a model for the community to solve their constant power problem through an alternative and clean energy source such as solar power.

A man with a solar panel

A man with a solar panel

Paul Cabacungan of Ateneo Innovation Center with a car battery.

Paul Cabacungan with a car battery.

The light bulbs

The light bulbs

A hut beside the dirt road on a hill

A hut beside the dirt road on a hill

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