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Climate of the Philippines

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Climate map of the Philippines based on the Modified Coronas' Climate Classification, based on the type of rainfall distribution during the 1951-2021 period.
Evening thunderstorms bringing rain over the Philippines is common from March to September.

The Philippines has five types of climates: tropical rainforest, tropical monsoon, tropical savanna, humid subtropical and oceanic (the latter two are found in higher-altitude areas). The country overall is characterized by relatively high temperature, oppressive humidity and plenty of rainfall. There are two seasons in the country: the wet season and the dry season, based upon the amount of rainfall.[1] This is also dependent on location in the country as some areas experience rain all throughout the year (see Climate types). The warm months of the year are March through October; the winter monsoon brings cooler air from November to February. May is the warmest month, and January, the coolest.[2]

Weather in the Philippines is monitored by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).


Monsoons are large-scale sea breezes which occur when the temperature on land is significantly warmer or cooler than the temperature of the ocean. Most summer monsoons or southwest monsoons (Filipino: Habagat) have a dominant westerly component and a strong tendency to ascend and produce copious amounts of rain (because of the condensation of water vapor in the rising air). The intensity and duration, however, are not uniform from year to year. Winter monsoons or northeast monsoons (Filipino: Amihan), by contrast, have a dominant easterly component and a strong tendency to diverge, subside and cause drought.

A classic summer thunderstorm in Silang, Cavite

The summer monsoon brings heavy rains to most of the archipelago from May to October. Annual average rainfall ranges from as much as 5,000 millimeters (197 in) in the mountainous east coast section of the country, to less than 1,000 millimeters (39 in) in some of the sheltered valleys. Monsoon rains, although hard and drenching, are not normally associated with high winds and waves.

At least 30 percent of the annual rainfall in the northern Philippines can be traced to tropical cyclones, while the southern islands receiving less than 10 percent of their annual rainfall from tropical cyclones. The wettest known tropical cyclone to impact the archipelago was the July 1911 cyclone, when the total precipitation for Baguio was distributed over the four days as: 14th – 879.8 mm (34.6 in), 15th – 733.6 mm (28.9 in), 16th – 424.9 mm (16.7 in), 17th – 200.4 mm (7.9 in);[3][4] followed by extraordinary drought from October 1911 to May 1912, so that the annual amount of those two years were hardly noticeable.


PAGASA's Tropical Cyclone Intensity Scale[5][6]
Category Sustained winds
Super typhoon (STY) ≥185 km/h
≥100 knots
Typhoon (TY) 118–184 km/h
64–99 knots
Severe tropical storm (STS) 89–117 km/h
48–63 knots
Tropical storm (TS) 62–88 km/h
34–47 knots
Tropical depression (TD) ≤61 km/h
≤33 knots

The Philippine archipelago sits across the typhoon belt, where dangerous storms occur from July through October. Climate change exacerbates the situation with typhoons in the Philippines.[7] Bagyo is the Filipino term for any tropical cyclone in the Philippine Islands.[4] From the statistics gathered by PAGASA from 1948 to 2004, around 28 storms and/or typhoons per year enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) – the designated area assigned to PAGASA to monitor during weather disturbances. Of those that made landfall or crossed the Philippines, the average was nine per year. In 1993, a record nineteen typhoons made landfall in the country, making it the most in one year. The fewest per year were four during the years 1955, 1958, 1992, and 1997.[8]

PAGASA categorizes typhoons into five types according to wind speed. Once a tropical cyclone enters the PAR, regardless of strength, it is given a local name for identification purposes by the media, government, and the general public.[9]

Public Storm Warning System (PSWS)[edit]

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signals (TCWS)
Warning Signal Meaning

TCWS #1 winds of 39–61 km/h (21–33 kn; 24–38 mph)
are prevailing or expected to occur within 36 hours
TCWS #2 winds of 62–88 km/h (33–48 kn; 39–55 mph)
are prevailing or expected to occur within 24 hours
TCWS #3 winds of 89–117 km/h (48–63 kn; 55–73 mph)
are prevailing or expected to occur within 18 hours
TCWS #4 winds of 118–184 km/h (64–99 kn; 73–114 mph)
are prevailing or expected to occur within 12 hours
TCWS #5 winds of 185 km/h (100 kn; 115 mph) or greater
are prevailing or expected to occur within 12 hours

For the past ten years, the Philippines has experienced a number of extremely damaging tropical cyclones, particularly typhoons with sustained winds of more than 185 km/h (115 mph; 100 kn; 51 m/s). Because of this, the Super Typhoon (STY) category with maximum sustained winds of more than 185 km/h (115 mph; 100 kn; 51 m/s) was officially adopted. PAGASA revised the definition of super typhoon and its system of wind signals in 2022.[11] However, according to different stakeholders, the extensive and devastating damages caused by strong typhoons such as Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013 and Typhoon Rai (Odette) in 2021 made the four‑level warning system inadequate.

Strongest typhoons[edit]

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda, 2013)[edit]

The deadliest typhoon to impact the Philippines was Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, in November 2013; more than 6,300 people died from its storm surges and powerful winds. Over 1,000 went missing and nearly 20,000 were injured. One-minute sustained winds reached 315 km/h (196 mph; 170 kn; 88 m/s). Yolanda may have been the strongest storm in history in terms of wind speeds, as wind speeds before the 1970s were too high to record.

Typhoon Angela (Rosing, 1995)[edit]

In 1995, Typhoon Angela, a catastrophic Category 5 typhoon known locally as Rosing, made landfall in the province of Catanduanes and made across Manila. One-minute sustained winds reached speeds of 290 km/h (180 mph). Rosing took 936 lives, and was the most powerful typhoon to ever hit Metro Manila.

Typhoon Bopha (Pablo, 2012)[edit]

On late December 3, 2012, Typhoon Bopha (locally called Pablo) made landfall in eastern Mindanao, causing over US$1.04 billion worth of damage with one-minute sustained winds reaching speeds of 280 km/h (175 mph). Pablo was the most powerful typhoon to ever hit Mindanao; 1,067 people died and 834 people were reported missing. Most of the damage was caused by storm surges and winds.

Typhoon Megi (Juan, 2010)[edit]

Typhoon Megi was the strongest storm ever to make landfall in the country in terms of pressure.

It made landfall in Northern Luzon, and one-minute sustained winds reached speeds of 295 km/h (185 mph), killing 67 people and costing over US$700 million in damage.

Climate types [edit]

Four kinds of tropical sunshine (°C)
Four kinds of tropical rain (mm)

There are four recognized climate types in the Philippines, and they are based on the distribution of rainfall (See the Philippine Climate Map at the top).[a] They are described as follows:[1]

Type I Two pronounced seasons: dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year.
Type II No dry season with a pronounced rainfall from November to January.
Type III Seasons are not very pronounced, relatively dry from November to April, and wet during the rest of the year.
Type IV Rainfall is more or less evenly distributed throughout the year.


The average year-round temperature measured from all the weather stations in the Philippines, except Baguio, is 26.6 °C (79.9 °F). Cooler days are usually felt in the month of January with temperature averaging at 25.5 °C (77.9 °F) and the warmest days, in the month of May with a mean of 28.3 °C (82.9 °F).[1] Elevation factors significantly in the variation of temperature in the Philippines. In Baguio, with an elevation of 1,500 m (4,900 ft) above sea level, the mean average is 18.3 °C (64.9 °F) or cooler by about 4.3 °C (8 °F). In 1915, a one-year study was conducted by William H. Brown of the Philippine Journal of Science on top of Mount Banahaw at 2,100 m (6,900 ft) elevation. The mean temperature measured was 18.6 °C (65.5 °F), a difference of 10 °C (18 °F) from the lowland mean temperature.[16]

Philippines Monthly Average Temperature Trend From 1991 to 2020 (°C) [17]
Category Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Min 20.67 20.57 21.09 21.98 22.55 22.35 22.03 22.07 21.97 21.76 21.64 21.31
Mean 24.72 24.88 25.71 26.68 27.02 26.47 25.94 25.92 25.9 25.83 25.65 25.21
Max 28.82 29.24 30.38 31.42 31.54 30.65 29.9 29.82 29.87 29.96 29.72 29.16
Precipitation (mm) 136.93 96.05 92.56 97.66 188.95 248.37 291.02 310.68 281.05 280.74 230.51 206.84


Relative humidity is high in the Philippines. A high amount of moisture in the air makes hot temperatures feel hotter. This quantity of moisture is due to different factors, including evaporation from the seas that surround the country on all sides, the different prevailing winds in the different seasons of the year, and abundant tropical rain. The first may be considered a general cause of the great humidity, which is generally observed in all the islands throughout the year. The last two may influence the different degrees of humidity for the different months of the year and for the different regions of the archipelago.[18]


The climate of the country is divided into two main seasons:

  1. the rainy season, from June to the early part of October;
  2. the dry season, from the later part of October to May. The dry season may be subdivided further into (a) the cool dry season, from the later part of October to February, and (b) the hot dry season, from March to May.[1] The months of April and May, the hot and dry months when schools are on their long breaks between academic years, are commonly called "summer" (after the summer season which lasts from June to August in more temperate countries).[19]
Months November–February March–May June–August September–October
Cool Dry
Hot Dry

Climate change[edit]

Both floods and droughts are predicted to increase.

Climate change is having serious impacts in the Philippines such as increased frequency and severity of natural disasters, sea level rise, extreme rainfall, resource shortages, and environmental degradation.[20] All of these impacts together have greatly affected the Philippines' agriculture, water, infrastructure, human health, and coastal ecosystems and they are projected to continue having devastating damages to the economy and society of the Philippines.[20]

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.[21] The archipelago is situated along the Pacific Ocean's typhoon belt, leaving the country vulnerable to around 20 typhoons each year, a quarter of which are destructive.[22] The December 2021 typhoon known colloquially as Typhoon Odette caused around a billion dollars (₱51.8 billion) in infrastructure and agricultural damages and displaced about 630,000 people. The United Nations estimated that Typhoon Odette impacted the livelihoods of 13 million people, destroying their homes and leaving them without adequate food or water supplies.[23] More tragically, the physical and economic repercussions of Typhoon Odette led to the death of over 400 people as of December 2021.[23]

In addition to the Philippines' close proximity to the Pacific Ocean's typhoon belt, the Philippines is also located within the "Pacific Ring of Fire" which makes the country prone to recurrent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.[22] Compounding these issues, the impacts of climate change, such as accelerated sea level rise, exacerbate the state's high susceptibility to natural disasters, like flooding and landslides.[24] Aside from geography, climate change impacts regions with a history of colonization more intensely than regions without a history of colonization.[25] Colonized regions experience the repercussions of climate change most jarringly "because of their high dependence on natural resources, their geographical and climatic conditions and their limited capacity to effectively adapt to a changing climate."[25] Since low-income countries have a history of colonialism and resource exploitation, their environment lacks the diversity necessary to prevail against natural disasters.[26] A lack of biodiversity reduces the resilience of a specific region, leaving them more susceptible to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. With its history of Spanish colonization, the Philippines is not environmentally nor economically equipped to overcome issues it is currently dealing with, such as natural disasters and climate change. This inability to recover exacerbates the problem, creating a cycle of environmental and economic devastation in the country.[26]


  1. ^ This classification was first established by Coronas 1920, pp. 68–72 and then slightly modified by PAGASA (Flores & Balagot 1969; Kintanar 1984).


  1. ^ a b c d "Climate of the Philippines". Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. Archived from the original on November 15, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  2. ^ Coronas 1920.
  3. ^ Coronas 1920, p. 110.
  4. ^ a b Glossary of Meteorology. Baguio. Retrieved on June 11, 2008.
  5. ^ Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) (March 2022). "About Tropical Cyclones: Classification of Tropical Cyclones". PAGASA. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  6. ^ Esperanza O. Cayanan (July 20, 2015). "The Philippines modified its Tropical Cyclone Warning System" (PDF). World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
  7. ^ Overland, Indra et al. (2017) Impact of Climate Change on ASEAN International Affairs: Risk and Opportunity Multiplier, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and Myanmar Institute of International and Strategic Studies (MISIS).
  8. ^ Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. "Tropical Cyclone Statistics Archived May 25, 2013, at the Wayback Machine". Retrieved on June 26, 2010.
  9. ^ Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Hurricane Research Division. "Frequently Asked Questions: What are the upcoming tropical cyclone names?". NOAA. Retrieved December 11, 2006.
  10. ^ "Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal". Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. March 23, 2022.
  11. ^ "PAGASA redefines 'super typhoon', revises wind signals". ABS-CBN News. March 23, 2022. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  12. ^ "Climatological Information for Manila". AmbiWeb GmbH. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  13. ^ "Climatological Information for Borongan, Eastern Samar". AmbiWeb GmbH. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  14. ^ "Climatological Information for Cebu City". AmbiWeb GmbH. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  15. ^ "Climatological Information for General Santos". AmbiWeb GmbH. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  16. ^ Coronas 1920, p. 53.
  17. ^ "World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal". climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org. Archived from the original on October 18, 2021. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  18. ^ Coronas 1920, p. 125.
  19. ^ "'Summer' is here: Philippines' hot dry season begins". Rappler. March 26, 2021. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  20. ^ a b "Climate Change Risk in the Philippines: Country Fact Sheet" (PDF). USAID. February 2017.
  21. ^ UNOCHA (March 2019). "About OCHA in The Philippines". Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  22. ^ a b Asian Disaster Reduction Center. "Information on Disaster Risk Reduction of the Member Countries". Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  23. ^ a b "Typhoon Rai", Wikipedia, May 10, 2022, retrieved May 14, 2022
  24. ^ Perez, Rosa T.; et al. (August 1999), "Climate Change Impacts and Responses in the Philippines Coastal Sector", Climate Research, 12 (2/3): 97–107, Bibcode:1999ClRes..12...97P, doi:10.3354/cr012097, JSTOR 24866004
  25. ^ a b SMITH, PAUL J. (2007). "Climate Change, Weak States and the "War on Terrorism" in South and Southeast Asia". Contemporary Southeast Asia. 29 (2): 264–285. doi:10.1355/CS29-2C. ISSN 0129-797X. JSTOR 25798831.
  26. ^ a b Das Gupta, Monica (2014). "Population, Poverty, and Climate Change". The World Bank Research Observer. 29 (1): 83–108. doi:10.1093/wbro/lkt009. hdl:10986/22565. ISSN 0257-3032. JSTOR 24582389.


  • Flores, J. F.; Balagot, V. F. (1969). Arakawa, Hidetoshi (ed.). Ch. 3: Climate of the Philippines. World Survey of Climatology. Vol. 8: Climates of Northern and Eastern Asia. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0444407047.