Sea projected to rise six feet
by Krystal Paco
Guam - It's a concrete look at climate changes affects on Guam, and the island could say goodbye to its low-lying shoreline areas. Come the year 2100, Paseo Loop in Hagatna could be completely submerged, and although it's a century away, Bureau of Statistics & Plans geographic information systems manager Victor Torres says this is valuable information for present policy makers and the general public.
Thanks to a local partnership with the National and Oceanic Atmospheric Administration all can access this data for Guam and Saipan on a digital coast sea level rise and coastal flooding impacts viewer available online. "So this viewer makes it possible to model if sea level rose by one foot two foot three foot 2230 including marshes what the change in Agana Swamp. It would turn more brackish and saltwater so certain fishes couldn't survive," he said.
By 2100, experts project sea level to rise at most six feet - what could easily devastate the island's present infrastructure. "A lot of us won't be here but for long term planning especially when you talk about infrastructure some of our power plants are going to be underwater at Cabras Island and maybe the road and the ports you need to know these things way in advance to plan for them because they cost a lot of money to replace these things," he said.
But Guam residents don't need to panic just yet as Torres assures the island is at a higher elevation than our neighbors in the Pacific who are at risk of losing their food systems. "For those people it's a very real dire consequence of sea level rising for us we can run up the hill further we have big cliff lines but we have to cognizant because it cost a lot of money and planning to replace power plants and roads and that's where a lot of roads and power plants are - in low lying areas close to the shoreline," he said.
Torres will explain the model at the University of Guam's 2013 Island Sustainability Conference set for April 17 through 19 at the Hyatt Regency Guam.