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By 2100 Southern Spain headed to become a desert, with climate change

drought1Climate change rate to turn southern Spain to desert by 2100, report warns, Guardian, , 28 Oct 16 

Mediterranean ecosystems will change to a state unprecedented in the past 10,000 years unless temperature rises are held to within 1.5C, say scientists. Southern Spain will be reduced to desert by the end of the century if the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, researchers have warned.

Anything less than extremely ambitious and politically unlikely carbon emissions cuts will see ecosystems in the Mediterranean change to a state unprecedented in the past 10 millennia, they said.

The study, published in the journal Science, modelled what would happen to vegetation in the Mediterranean basin under four different paths of future carbon emissions, from a business-as-usual scenario at the worst end to keeping temperature rises below the Paris climate deal target of 1.5C at the other.

Temperatures would rise nearly 5C globally under the worst case scenario by 2100, causing deserts to expand northwards across southern Spain and Sicily, and Mediterranean vegetation to replace deciduous forests.

Even if emissions are held to the level of pledges put forward ahead of the Paris deal, southern Europe would experience a “substantial” expansion of deserts. The level of change would be beyond anything the region’s ecosystems had experienced during the holocene, the geological epoch that started more than 10,000 years ago.

“The Med is very sensitive to climatic change, maybe much more than any other region in the world,” said lead author Joel Guiot of Aix-Marseille University. “A lot of people are living at the level of the sea, it also has a lot of troubles coming from migration. If we add additional problems due to climate change, it will be worse in the future.”

He said that while his study did not simulate what would happen to production of Mediterranean food staples such as olives, other research showed it was clear the changes would harm their production. Climate change has already warmed the region by more than the global average – 1.3C compared to 1C – since the industrial revolution.

The real impact on Mediterranean ecosystems, which are considered a hotspot of biodiversity, could be worse because the study did not look at other human impacts, such as forests being turned over to grow food……. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/27/climate-change-rate-to-turn-southern-spain-to-desert-by-2100-report-warns

October 29, 2016 - Posted by | climate change, Spain

3 Comments »

  1. I can imagine that. I’ve lived in Sevilla for the last 10 years and the summer this year was unbearable. Not a day did we have a decent breeze or did the temperature fall below 38 max. Incredible. It’s even summer like weather now, and it’s the 1st of November, when will winter come?

    Comment by Barry O'Leary | November 1, 2016 | Reply

  2. […] has been the hottest for me in the last 10 years, so it’s no surprise that people are saying Southern Spain will turn into a desert by the start of next century. I guess that means I don’t need to worry anymore about the […]

    Pingback by Best Blogs about Spain: | A Novel Spain | November 2, 2016 | Reply

  3. […] has been the hottest for me in the last 10 years, so it’s no surprise that people are saying Southern Spain will turn into a desert by the start of next century. I guess that means I don’t need to worry anymore about the […]

    Pingback by Best Blogs about Spain: Desert coming, Olive Oil, and tapas… – A Novel Spain | May 2, 2017 | Reply


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