Sea Level Rising in the Philippines

Most recent satellite and ground observations show the sea level is continuing to rise and would be subject to impacts such as flooding, storm surges and severe wave conditions.

The Philippines is at risk of being swamped by rising levels of seawater as a result of global warming. Low-lying areas including Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, India and the Philippines face catastrophic flooding as polar ice caps may melt far faster under the pressure of global warming.

Sea-level rise has the potential to affect millions of people living in low-lying coastal regions, particularly those living on deltas of major rivers and small island-nations and rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are the major factor behind rising temperatures.

The assessment report from the IPCC, which shared with former US Vice President Al Gore the Nobel Prize for their advocacy of warning the world about climate change, projected a sea-level rise of 18 to 59 centimeters from 2007.
Former US vice-president Al Gore warned that up to two million Metro Manila residents may have to be evacuated from flooded communities as melting glaciers and the polar icecaps raise sea levels worldwide.

But not all factors contributing to sea-level rise could be calculated at that time. The uncertainty was centered on the ice sheets, how they react to the effects of a warmer climate and how they interact with the oceans.

According to Greenpeace Southeast Asia, in the Philippines, a one-meter rise in sea level, for example, is projected to affect 64 out of 81 provinces. From 1961 to 2003, the waters around the archipelago rose by 1.8 millimeter every year. A Pagasa study also showed that coastal areas in Navotas, Malabon, Cavite, Davao City and Legazpi City sank by 15 centimeters from 1970 to 1999.

Global warming could still be stopped if greenhouse gases or industrial emissions that produce carbon dioxide could be limited. Reforestation of denuded forest and mountains could also help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.