The world's oceans may rise up to 140 cms (4 ft 7 in) by 2100 due to global warming, a faster than expected increase that could threaten low-lying coasts from Florida to Bangladesh, a researcher said on Thursday.And it led me to this Wikipedia article, which led me to this interactive Google-powered flood maps, and finally to the three maps for the Metro Naga area (right), arranged in the order of flooding scenario: 0 meter (status quo), 1 meter and 2 meters. I did not try the worse scenarios (it can go as high as 14 meters) for the fear of the unthinkable.
This weblog entry by Alex Tingle, the guy behind the flood maps, and the comments that flooded it, and continues to, showed some limitations of his work: there are six, including tides as non-factor. So I googled "tides in the Philippines" and got this: a graphical and tabular data on the high and low tides in Legazpi City (which is just 100 kms away) over the next two days. It appears the difference between high and low tides in our corner of the world ranges between 0.5 t0 1.25 meters.
Which makes the lowermost map very plausible -- assuming Stefan Rahmstorf's calculations are correct. Effectively, it would put a seafront right beside Naga City as the San Miguel Bay as we know it will extend deep into the Bula-Minalabac area.
As always, phenomena like this will cut both ways: a seafront will be nice but it means goodbye to the low-lying areas of the Bicol peninsula as we know it. And the danger of storm surges, which is what brought about the terrible flooding in Legazpi City in Reming's aftermath, especially given the increasing ferocity of typhoons that regularly pass our way. While we may not see this in our lifetime, and I definitely do not want to be an alarmist, but I think this is one set of data we should etch in our collective consciousness because the future Naga City of our children is at stake, and most probably at risk.