A radar station in Kiribatis capital, Kandy, is “anomaly” as it has recorded “significantly higher” levels of a dangerous gas known as “hydrogen chloride” than the “normal” level, the Meteorological Services of the Philippines (MSPS) said on Monday.
In a statement to the media, MSPS meteorologist Raffaele Massonucci said the station, at the Pampanga airport, recorded a peak level of 4.6 milligrams per cubic meter of air.
“This was the highest recorded so far during the year in Kandy.
The previous record was 2.9 milligram per cubic metre recorded in January 2017,” he said.
The station also recorded a “muzzle” during the period of observation, meaning that there was an abnormality of the atmosphere at that location.
MSPS Meteorology Specialist Jose Lopez said the “muzzle” could have been caused by the release of “supercell” clouds, a type of weather phenomenon that are associated with thunderstorms.
Supercell clouds can form when the upper layer of the air is disturbed by thunderstorms, and can have the potential to “cause catastrophic thunderstorms”.
The atmospheric data is a “significant” increase, he said, indicating the presence of a potentially hazardous gas.
“We are currently investigating whether the ‘muzzle’ was caused by supercell clouds or by a more common phenomenon that we have previously seen in our observations,” Mr Lopez said.
The “motorised” MSPS station was placed at the end of a corridor of road and rail lines used to connect Kandy to the mainland.
It is one of three facilities that can detect and track hydrogen chloride, which can be emitted by a meteorological phenomenon called “milder cloud formation”.
Hydrogen chloride is a highly dangerous gas, and should be kept out of the environment, especially when it is stored in airtight containers, the MSPS said.
The presence of the gas could cause a “serious health and safety concern” and the government should implement appropriate controls to ensure public safety.
An MSPS official said the gas was detected in a sample taken from the surface of the planet.
“This is an anomaly, but this does not mean that it is a violation of the regulations.
The sample is in an airtight container, and the contamination has not spread to the ground,” Mr Massonuccio said.”
There is no other way of obtaining this sample, so we are unable to confirm the presence or absence of the detected gas.
This is the second time in two years that we detected hydrogen chloride at the station.”
The Meteorological and Atmospheric Services of Malaysia (MAS) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Mizzou Police Department said it was monitoring the incident.