Climate of the Philippines

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Evening Thunderstorms, bringing rain over the Philippines is common from March to October.

Climate of the Philippines is either tropical rainforest, tropical savanna, tropical monsoon, or humid subtropical (in higher-altitude areas) 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 dependent as well on your location in the country as some areas experience rain all throughout the year (see Climate Types). Based on temperature, the seven warmest months of the year are from March to 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 and managed by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (usually referred by its acronym, PAGASA).


The summer monsoon brings heavy rains to most of the archipelago from May to October. Annual average last known tropical cyclone to impact the archipelago was the July 1911 cyclone, which dropped over 1,168 millimetres (46.0 in) of rainfall within a 24-hour period in Baguio City.[3]


Typhoon Bopha, a powerful, unusual, late season typhoon which hit the Philippines in November 2012

The Philippines sit astride the typhoon belt, and the country suffers an annual onslaught of dangerous storms from July through October. These are especially hazardous for northern and eastern Luzon and the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions, but Manila gets devastated periodically as well.[citation needed] Bagyó is the local term to any tropical cyclone in the Philippine Islands.[3] From the statistics gathered by PAGASA from 1948 to 2004, around an average of 28 storms and/or typhoons per year enter the PAR (Philippine Area of Responsibility) - the designated area assigned to PAGASA to monitor during weather disturbances. Those that made landfall or crossed the Philippines, the average was nine per year. In 1993, a record 19 typhoons made landfall in the country making it the most in one year. The least amount per year were 4 during the years 1955, 1958, 1992 and 1997.[4]

PAGASA categorises typhoons into five types according to wind speed. Once a tropical cyclone enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility, regardless of strength, PAGASA gives it a local name for identification purposes by the media, government, and the general public.[5]

  • Tropical Depressions have maximum sustained winds of between 30 kilometres per hour (16 kn) and 60 kilometres per hour (32 kn) near its center.
  • Tropical Storms have maximum sustained winds of 61 kilometres per hour (33 kn) and 88 kilometres per hour (48 kn).
  • Severe Tropical Storms have maximum sustained winds of 89 kilometres per hour (48 kn) and 117 kilometres per hour (63 kn).
  • Typhoons achieve maximum sustained winds of 118 kilometres per hour (64 kn) to 219 kilometres per hour (118 kn),[6]
  • Super Typhoons achieve maximum sustained winds of more than 220 kilometres per hour (120 kn).

Deadliest storm[edit]

The deadliest typhoon to impact the Philippines was Typhoon Yolanda in November 8, 2013, in which 6, 800 lives were lost from its storm surges and powerful winds. Over 1,000 went missing and nearly 20,000 were injured.

Public Storm Warning System[edit]

For the past ten years, the Philippines has experienced a number of extremely damaging tropical cyclones, particularly typhoons with more than 220 km/h (140 mph) of sustained winds.Because of this, the Super Typhoon (STY) category with more than 220 km/h maximum sustained winds was officially adopted by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) last year.However, according to different stakeholders, the extensive and devastating damages caused by strong typhoons such as Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 made the four-level warning system (PSWS) Numbers 1-4 inadequate.With this development and to give emphasis in warning for Super Typhoon, the warning system is modified and reconstructed as follows:

  • Signal No. 1 - winds of 30–60 km/h and expected in 36 hrs on 1st issuance.
  • Signal No. 2 - winds of 60–120 km/h and expected in 24 hrs on 1st issuance.
  • Signal No. 3 - winds of 120–170 km/h and expected in 18 hrs on 1st issuance.
  • Signal No. 4 - winds of 170–220 km/h and expected in 12 hrs on 1st issuance.
  • Signal No. 5 - winds more than 220 km/h and expected in 12 hrs on 1st issuance.

Strongest typhoons[edit]

The strongest storm that hit the Philippines was Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda. Winds reached 315 km/h in 1-min sustained and may have been the strongest storm in history in terms of wind speeds as wind speeds before the 1970s were too high.

In terms of central pressure, Typhoon Megi (2010) measured 885 mb. With this, this is the strongest storm ever to make landfall in terms of pressure.

Climate types [edit]

Philippine Climate Map

There are four recognized climate types in the Philippines, and they are based on the distribution of rainfall (See the Philippine Climate Map). 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 City, 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 City, 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 (40 °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.[7]


Relative humidity is high in the Philippines. A high amount of moisture or vapor in the air makes hot temperatures feel hotter. This quantity of moisture is due to different factors – the extraordinary evaporation from the seas that surrounds the country on all sides, to the different prevailing winds in the different seasons of the year, and finally, to the abundant rains so common in a tropical country. The first may be considered as general causes of the great humidity, which is generally observed in all the islands throughout the year. The last two may influence the different degree of humidity for the different months of the year and for the different regions of the archipelago.[13]

In the cooler months, even though the rains are more abundant in the eastern part of the Philippines, owing to the prevailing northeasterly winds, the humidity is lesser than in the western part where a dry season prevails. From June to October, although the rains are quite general throughout the archipelago, the rains are more abundant in the western part of the Philippines, which is more exposed to the prevailing westerly and southwesterly winds; hence the humidity of the air is greater there than in the eastern part of the archipelago.

The least comfortable months are from March to May where temperature and humidity attain their maximum levels.[citation needed]


PAGASA divides the climate of the country into two main seasons—rainy and dry—with the dry season further subdivided into two: (1) the rainy season, from June to November; and (2) the dry season, from December to May. The dry season may be subdivided further into (a) the cool dry season, from December to February; and (b) the hot dry season, from March to May.[1] The months of April and May, the hot and dry months [1] when schools are on their long, between-years break, is referred to as summer while in most of the northern hemisphere those months are part of spring.[citation needed]

Graphically the seasons can be represented this way:

Month December–February March–May June–August September–November
Cool Dry
Hot Dry

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Climate of the Philippines". Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. Retrieved 26 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Meteorology of the Philippines". Nature, Vol.107. Retrieved on 2010-06-26.
  3. ^ a b Glossary of Meteorology. Baguio. Retrieved on 2008-06-11.
  4. ^ Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. "Tropical Cyclone Statistics". Retrieved on 2010-06-26.
  5. ^ Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Hurricane Research Division. "Frequently Asked Questions: What are the upcoming tropical cyclone names?". NOAA. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  6. ^ National Weather Service (September 2006). "Hurricanes... Unleashing Nature's Fury: A Preparedness Guide" (PDF). NOAA. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  7. ^ Coronas 1920, p. 53.
  8. ^ "Climatological Information for Manila, Philippines". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Weatherbase: Weather for Borongan, Philippines". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on November 22, 2011.
  10. ^ "Weatherbase: Weather for Cebu City". Weatherbase. 
  11. ^ "Weatherbase: Weather for General Santos, Philippines". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on November 22, 2011.
  12. ^ "Weatherbase: Weather for Baguio, Philippines". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on November 22, 2011.
  13. ^ Coronas 1920, p. 125.


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