Picture this: you started your day with the sun shining by your window with no sign of rain clouds ahead. It’s the perfect day to wear your new Viscan OOTD. Yet, upon stepping into the university grounds, a flash of rain decides to drench your outfit.
It is during these times that you have finally experienced the ever-changing weather in VSU, a coveted culture known in Viscan life. But what is the reason for the dynamic and unpredictable weather in VSU? Mr. Charles Andan, the head of the Meteorology Department, explained the science behind it.
“VSU is a moody university:” The true factors that affect the climate of VSU
Visayas State University, located at Barangay Pangasugan, Baybay City, Leyte, is the famed location between the mountain and the sea. The geography consists of mountainous terrain from Mount Pangasugan for plantation and vegetation, along with aesthetically-pleasing sights of the Camotes Sea. It is no wonder why VSU has its climate, not to mention the unpredictable weather. “Ocean and land interaction” is the term coined by Mr. Andan for areas sandwiched between land and water.
Think of an oven — the heat inside that cooks or warms your food undergoes the process known as convection or the way heat circulates within the metal box. Just like how heat is distributed inside an oven, temperature within a specific area is affected mainly by surrounding land and water bodies. In the case of VSU, warm air from the Camotes Sea and Mount Pangasugan circulates and bounces in convection within the area, which explains the gradual rise in temperature being experienced on the campus. With that in mind, the formation of clouds begins much rather quickly (remember your lesson about the Water Cycle in your early years), as the surface traps the heat, allowing clouds to condense and precipitate. Like how a cloud of steam comes out of your hot cup of coffee or the freshly cooked food coming out of the oven, with a decent amount of heat, the water starts to heat, resulting in the formation of clouds and, later, a rainfall or thunderstorm. This phenomenon is most notable during the La Niña season, hence the continuous rain.
“VSU is consistent:” Microclimate
“Ang climate type sa Leyte is Type 4,” said Mr. Andan.
According to PAGASA’s classification, the normal trend of rainfall is usually wet all year round. Type 4 climate type based on PAGASA standards indicates that there is usually no dry season in the area, rendering that rainfall is distributed evenly throughout the year.
Mr. Andan states that during the wet season, or the Northeast Monsoon (hanging amihan in vernacular), rainfall is most pronounced between the months of October to February. That explains why VSU had been experiencing rather terrible rainfall from the start of the first semester until the beginning of the second one.
PAGASA recently concluded the La Nina, the constant rainy season, on March 15 this year, which indicates that it is now the start of the Fervid Era or the summer of the year.
“...with La Niña ending, padung na siya sa neutral. Pero ang dapat nato pangandamon napud, is ang El Nino…mo ingon napud ang mga taw nga ‘init napud!’” Mr. Andan said. El Nino is the complete opposite of La Nina, where intense heat season begins, which usually follows soon after the end of the latter.
La Niña and El Niño are playing a game with the climate in the areas, influencing the weather pattern of the specific area. Due to the geographical location of VSU, it has produced its own “microclimate” – the changes in a climate that just occurs in a small area. Have you ever experienced a scenario where Baybay City proper is bright and sunny, yet when you arrive in VSUrop, it is raining hard? This is also influenced by the “Ocean and Land Interaction” along with La Niña and El Niño phenomenon.
“VSU is experiencing climate change:” Is it truly climate change?
“Students get confused if it is climate change, is it really climate change? Actually, di ni siya climate change,” Mr. Andan assured. “Though, naay climate change. Pero ang kaning na feel nato is somehow direct siya na influence sa climate anomaly [e.g. La Nina], and ang gina-tawag na ENSO.”
ENSO, or the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), is the periodic departures from expected sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, or in short: the depiction if it’s the rainy or summer season. Sir Andan assures that it is a normal occurrence, only that it gets a lot due to environmental changes.
“VSU is too hot/too cold:” Viscans versus the ever-changing university weather
With the heat finally extinguishing the floods of the previous rainfalls, students in the university should raise their protection to retain their status as “Bagtik na Viscans”. Other than equipping themselves with the usual necessities–umbrellas, towels, water bottles–Viscans should have their daily intake of vitamins to strengthen their immune system against the continuously changing and unpredictable weather. Staying in the shade also helps lessen the risk of overheating in one’s body. It is also that time of the year when dark colors should be worn less, and opt to wear loose and bright colors to ease the heat.
So, Viscans – grab your umbrella and tumblers and put on some sunscreen. Summer is upon us once more!