15 December 2006

A Naga seafront a hundred years hence?

THIS Reuters news item that greeted me in my Yahoo! newsbox this morning grabbed my attention and sent my mind spinning.

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.


dave (",) said...

My brother had told me about this a few years back. These low-lying areas may be completely flooded from north to south, resulting in the eastern part of the peninsula, Naga included, becoming an island separate from Luzon.

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Hi Dave. Your comment made me look at Alex Tingle's worst-case scenario of 14 meters. http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=13.6033,123.1018&z=8&t=2

While it is close to creating the separate island you mentioned, it will also submerged the centro as we know it, but will only be able to connect the lakes of Bula/Baao and Bato to the Pacific. A consolation will be that the seafront will now sit beside our Grandview Community.:)

Maybe a 25-meter scenario will do that. And maybe we should make Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" required viewing.

dave (",) said...

Oh, Centro is submerged. The 14-meter rise made me rethink my real estate vision. Although not that much, since Pacol is still up. I also looked at Metro Manila and I liked what I saw. QC and Fort Bonifacio, places I am fond of will remain dry. In fact, the fort will have a lakefront! Unfortunately, Marikina, home of my friends, will be underwater, and Makati CBD will be in trouble with Glorietta barely keeping itself dry. The place I'm currently residing will also be claimed by the lake.

Anyway, with all these things still under debate, it's better to be informed of the latest research (the two "geeky" links in my blog are a good start).

Filipinayzd said...

Maaaring hindi lahat ng blung eyrya ay lulubog kapag tumaas ng (iinsert taas ng tubig dito) metro ang sea level dahil sa global warming). Aplikabol lang ang model sa (likwid) presipiteysyon (seguro rin rin). Anles merong daraanan ang tubig mula open-sea patungo sa mga eyryang below magiging sea level, lulubog ang eyryang iyon.

Ang Dead Sea, 418 metro below sea level. Kung may magkokonekt sa Mediterranean Sea at Dead Sea kapag tumaas ng 1 metro ang sea level, posibleng mangyari ito (http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=31.7609,35.8374&z=9&m=1&t=1). Wala naman sigurong river na mag/nagkokonekt sa dalawa. Kaya imposibol ang ganun sinaryow.

Kung presipiteysyon, maaaring lumubog rin ang ilang eyrya kahit na above sea level kung beysin at walang daraanan patungong open-sea ang tubig. Hindi naman siguro tataas ang sea-level dahil lang sa pagbagsak ng ulan (Bible's Great Flood?).