While the climate crisis has had a significant impact on coastal areas, new research has shown its potential impact on beaches in the Balearic Islands of the north-western Mediterranean. These findings were published in Frontiers in Marine Science showed that the archipelago—heavily reliant on tourism—could lose most of its beaches.
“Bay and sun tourism account for a large portion of the Mediterranean’s touristic income, more than 25% in the case the Balearic Islands. This means that it is important to predict what happens to these beaches. Climate ChangeMiguel Agulles (first author), is a Ph.D. candidate at the Oceanographic Center of the Balearic Islands, and the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies of Majorca.
“Here are the facts ClimateChange will result in the permanent loss of more that 50% of the beach surface and an increase of up to 80% during storms.”
Due to variations in winds, sea level will not rise to the same extent everywhere on Earth under climate change. Ocean currents. According to previous studies, the sea around these islands would rise between 50cm-67cm depending on the warming scenario.
Flood levels—which depend on sea level, tides, and wave characteristics—are thought to be the most important impact on the shape of beaches.
These authors created a cost-efficient but accurate method to predict flood levels along the Balearic coastlines. They also considered the shape and slopes of each beach, as well as the graininess and extent of seagrass meadows. Then they predicted the amount of coastal flooding, and the percentage of beaches that would be lost.
“A detailed analysis on the evolution of each beach in Balearic archipelago’s Balearic archipelago takes a lot of computer power. Agulles said that the study has required a lot of work to develop methods for the analysis and optimize the computation.
Climate change conditions Extreme weather eventsThey are expected to be stronger in certain regions, but weaker in others. The authors show that the maximum wave height at extreme events in the Balearic Islands will drop by 10cm to 15%, relative to the current height of between two to four meters.
Nevertheless, Agulles et al. The rise in sea levels will make it difficult to predict the impact on the coastline and the extent and number of beaches.
At least 56% beaches are permanently lost
They show that the average retreat of the Balearic Islands’ coastlines will be 9.2 meters in normal weather conditions under the intermediate RCP4.5 scenario of global warming from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This will lead to 37 of the 869 beaches currently in existence to disappear forever, while 56% will lose their beach areas permanently.
They also show that this scenario will result in 254 beaches and 84% of the current at the end of the century. BeachExtreme weather can cause flooding in the affected area. These beaches will most likely reappear shortly after, but serious damage can occur. Coast areasThese floods are likely to cause damage to beaches and other infrastructure.
IPCC’s RCP8.5 worst-case scenario, which is the worst-case scenario, would see the coastline shrink by an average of 11.7m by the end of this century. 72 beaches, representing 65% of the area currently in use, would disappear forever. 314 beaches, representing 86% of the area currently in use would flood during extreme weather.
Co-author Dr. Gabriel Jordà commented that their “results highlight that climate change is a serious threat for local tourism in these Islands. Due to the severe reduction in tourism, beaches will be severely affected. sea rise. Both the national and regional governments need to plan: to reduce the impact of storms by conserving seagrasses that are a natural defense, and to adapt the tourist industry or rethink its economic model.
Miguel Agulles et. al. Flooding of Sandy Beaches under a Changing Climate. The Case of the Balearic Islands, NW Mediterranean Frontiers in Marine Science (2021). DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2021.760725
Ibiza is gone! Climate crisis (2021, December 16), will result in permanent loss of 56 to 65 percent of the Balearic Islands’ beach area.
Retrieved 16 December 2021
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