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Study warns that climate change could cause the loss of Ibiza beaches by the end century.

Study warns that climate change could cause the loss of Ibiza beaches by the end century.

Up to 65 per cent of all beaches in the Balearic Islands will be permanently lost by the end of the century, according to a new study, and climate change is to blame

It’s the destination of choice for many party-loving sunseekers each summer, but a new study is sure to make Ibizaans tremble. 

Scientists have warned that up to 65 per cent of all beaches in the Balearic Islands will be permanently lost by the end of the century – and Climate changeYou are to blame.

A model was developed to assess sea level changes as a result of climate change projections made by Oceanographic Centre of the Balearic Islands researchers.

Although the effects of climate change on coastal areas have been extensively studied, this study focuses on the Balearics’ most popular tourist destinations.

Balearic Islands’ economy is more than 25% dependent on sun and beach tourism. Losing these beaches to climate change would be devastating. 

Miguel Agulles, study author, stated, “Here, we show that climate changes will lead to the permanent destruction of more than 50% of beach surface, rising up to over 80 percent during storm conditions, and more than 50% in the future.”

These predictions are based upon the worst-case scenario of climate change. However, efforts to reduce carbon emissions could lead to significant sea level rises around world, the team stated.

They also appeal to local and national governments for measures to reduce climate change on beaches, such as by planting more seagrass.

Up to 65 per cent of all beaches in the Balearic Islands will be permanently lost by the end of the century, according to a new study, and climate change is to blame

According to a new study, climate change will cause the loss of up to 65 percent of all beaches in Balearic Islands by the end of this century.

The findings show that climate change will lead to the permanent loss of more than 50% of the beach surface, rising up to more than 80% during storm conditions

Climate change will result in a permanent loss of more that 50% of the beach surface. This could rise to more than 80% during severe storm conditions.

WHAT IS THE PARIS AGREEMENT?

The Paris Agreement was signed for the first time in 2015. It is an international agreement to limit and control climate change.

It hopes to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6ºF) ‘and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F)’.

It seems the more ambitious goal of restricting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) may be more important than ever, according to previous research which claims 25 per cent of the world could see a significant increase in drier conditions. 

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change focuses on four main goals in reducing emissions.

A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels

To aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change

While governments agreed on the need to see global emissions peak as soon possible, they also acknowledged that this would take longer for developing nations.

To make rapid reductions in the following days according to the best science

Source: European Commission 

Even with the most extreme climate change models, sea level rises are not predicted to be the same everywhere on Earth.

Researchers predict that there will be variations due to ocean currents or winds. 

Studies from the past have shown that sea level rises around the Balearic islands will be as high as 26 inches under the highest levels of warming. 

However, it’s not only the sea level that will affect the quality of beaches for tourists.

The team behind this study explained that flood levels are dependent on tides and waves and are therefore more important indicators of the future shape and condition of beaches than sea level rises.

They devised a new, cost-efficient, and accurate method to forecast future flood levels along Balearic island’s coastlines.

They looked at the beach’s shape, slope, graininess, and extent of seagrass meadows to determine the likelihood of coastal flooding. 

‘A detailed analysis of the evolution of each beach in the Balearic archipelago is very demanding on computer power,’ Agulles told Frontiers

“We have therefore spent considerable effort in our research to develop methods for analysis and to optimize the computation.”

They discovered that extreme events can be less extreme than originally thought.

They predict that waves will rise up to six inches below the current maximum height of up to 13ft. 

Agulles and his colleagues warn that there will be ‘devastating inroads along the coastline’ which could lead to a decrease in the number beaches.

They believe this will be due to an overall rise in sea level. At least 56 percent of beaches in this region are permanently lost to sea.

This, along with regional projections for sea level and wave change over the next 100-years, allowed them to predict future total water level.

They applied their new model on 869 beaches on the Balearic Islands. Then they looked at what is most likely for the next few years. 

According to the most pessimistic scenario for climate change, 66% of the beaches currently in use will flood and be lost to the sea by the year 2000. 

This is in average conditions. However it will increase to an 86% loss of beaches during a storm. 

While the impact of the climate crisis on coastal areas has been widely studied, this is the first to show the impact specifically on popular tourist spots in the Balearics

Although the effects of climate change on coastal areas have been extensively studied, this study focuses on the Balearics’ most popular tourist destinations.

72 of the 869 beaches in the region would disappear forever, and 314 beaches would be completely flooded during severe storms. 

37 beaches would disappear permanently under a moderate scenario, which is the most likely given current climate change scenarios. 254 beaches will disappear only during severe storms. 

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In both cases, the average permanent loss in beach surface area will be more than 50 percent by the end century, but could rise to 80 percent. 

In total, 72 of the 869 beaches of the region would permanently disappear while 314 would be completely flooded during storm episodes

72 of the 869 beaches in the region would disappear forever, while 314 beaches would be completely flooded during severe storm episodes.

Co-author Dr Gabriel Jordà said the results show climate change is a serious threat to tourism in the islands, and beaches will be seriously impacted.

He advised that both national and regional governments should prepare plans to minimize the impact of storms through preservation of seagrass – a natural defense against storms.

“These projections suggest that adaptation plans should be made for beach areas as soon as possible.

The journal published the findings. Frontiers in Marine Science

SEA LEVELS COULD RISE BY UP TO 4 FEET BY THE YEAR 2300

Scientists have warned that global sea levels could rise up to 1.2 metres (4ft) by 2300, even if we meet the 2015 Paris climate goals.

The long-term impact of the melting ice from Greenland and Antarctica, which is expected to redraw global coastlines, will be driven.

Sea level rise is threatening cities from Shanghai to London to low-lying areas of Florida and Bangladesh to whole nations like the Maldives.

A German-led research team has released a new report stating that it is crucial to reduce emissions as quickly as possible in order to prevent an even greater rise.

The report projects that sea levels will rise by 0.7 to 1.2 metres by 2300, even if nearly 200 countries meet the 2015 Paris Agreement goals.

The agreements set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net 0 in the second decade of this century.

The oceans will rise rapidly because heat-trapping industrial gasses already emitted will linger within the atmosphere, melting more of the ice.

In addition, water naturally expands as it warms above four degrees Celsius (39.2°F).

If global emissions peak in 2020, there would be an additional 20cm (8 inches) of sea-level rise by 2300 for every five years.

Dr Matthias Mengel, a lead author at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany, said that sea level is often described as a slow process that you can’t control… but that the next 30 years really matter.

None of the nearly 200 countries that signed the Paris Accords are on track for fulfilling their pledges.

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