MADRID, Dec 22 — By the end of the century, the Balearic Islands may no longer be able to rely quite so much on their main tourist asset: their beaches. Due to the effects of the climate crisis, which are likely to shape new landscapes, the Spanish destination popular with Europe’s summer vacationers could lose up to 65 per cent of their beach area, in a worst-case scenario modeled by scientists.
From the white sands of Platja d’Es Trenc or the secluded Platja de Coll Baix in Mallorca, to the coves of Cala d’Algaiarens or the dreamy blue of Cala Macarella in Menorca, not to mention the golden sands of Platja de ses Salines in Ibiza… These natural treasures of the Balearic Islands — enjoyed by holidaymakers year after year — could one day disappear under the effect of climate change. Scientists have analysed the data to predict the future landscapes of the Spanish islands.
The study was published in Frontiers in Marine Science. It was done by researchers from the Oceanographic Center of the Balearic Islands. They assessed factors such as the shape and slopes of beaches, the graininess and extent of seagrass meadows.
Extreme weather events will become more common in certain parts of the world, but less in others due to the effects of climate change. In the Balearic Islands, the researchers suggests that the height of the waves could lose between 10 and 15 cm in extreme weather conditions, bearing in mind that today’s waves can measure between two and four meters high. Studies in the past have shown that the sea could rise between 50 to 67 cm around Ibiza and Menorca, the three main islands in the archipelago.
As a result, by the end of the century, the Balearic Islands’ coastline is estimated to have retreated by 9.2 meters. This would result in the disappearance or reorganization of 37 beaches from an total of 869. Worse, 84% could be completely submerged by extreme weather events. This beach area would not disappear but it would be completely destroyed by the water receding.
The scientists also looked at the worst-case scenario. In this scenario, 65 percent of the Balearic Islands’ beaches would disappear, and 86 percent of the remaining beach areas would flood during extreme weather. — ETX Studio