NASA: These Spanish coastal areas will be under water by 2050

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Estepona under water

New predictions from NASA indicate that sea levels in Spain will rise almost 50 centimetres by the beginning of the next century. Although many do not want to believe it, the consequences of the climate crisis will radically change the world as we know it.

The melting of the polar ice caps, caused by rising temperatures, will flood the Spanish coastline, and this will not last long. These changes will have a significant economic impact and transform Spain. According to the latest NASA studies, sea levels in Spain will rise by an average of 49 centimetres by the beginning of the next century. Knowing that almost 40% of the Spanish population lives in coastal provinces, this is a worrying fact.

Most areas at risk of being under water

The coastal areas, where all the major tourist centres are located, will be hardest hit by sea level rise. Huelva will experience a rise of 69 centimetres by the year 2100, while Tarifa will see a rise of 64 centimetres. In Málaga, a rise of 61 centimetres is expected by the end of the next century.

Barcelona will experience a gradual increase: 13 centimetres in 2030, 43 centimetres in 2070 and 75 centimetres in 2100. By 2150 the increase will reach 126 centimetres. These predictions are based on satellite data, terrestrial measurements, analyses and computer simulations. NASA has created a special portal that shows the most affected areas. This is based on data from the international climate panel IPCC.

The sea is eating the coastline of Málaga

Regional forecasts

A 2023 European Commission study showed that Spain is one of the EU countries most affected by rising temperatures. In practice, this means that the impact of the rise depends on the type of coastline. Coasts dominated by cliffs and rocky outcrops will experience less impact than beaches or low coastal areas. There, just a few centimetres of sea level rise can cause significant inland movement of seawater.

Specific increase forecasts per Spanish region

  • Galicia: Vigo will see a rise of 11 millimetres in 2030 and 43 centimetres in 2090. The forecasts for A Coruña and Villagarcía are similar.
  • Andalucia: Sea level rise will severely affect Almería, Málaga, Cádiz and Huelva. Cádiz will see a rise of 12 millimetres within six years and 45 centimetres by 2090
  • Cantabrian Sea: Gijón, Santander and Bilbao will experience a rise of about one centimetre by 2030. That could increase to 37-43 centimetres in 2090.
  • Barcelona: The city will see a rise of 12 millimetres by 2030 and 46 centimetres by the end of the century.
  • Canary Islands: Las Palmas and Santa Cruz will see a rise of 48 centimetres in 2090. Increases in Arrecife (Lanzarote) will be slightly lower.
  • Mallorca: Palma will see a rise of 38 centimetres by the end of the century.

A new factor complicating the situation is the increasingly frequent intense gota frías or DANAs. As a result, floods occur more often and river banks and coastal areas become extra vulnerable. This was already visible in 2020 when the Ebro delta was flooded during a heavy gota fría.

Also read: These Spanish coastal towns will be underwater within sixty years

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