The current coast of Spain is far from certain of its future. Subsequently, the IPCC makes visible the Spanish coastal towns that will be (partly) underwater within 60 years. A rise of 20 cm can already cause waves that come 30 metres inland.
Certain effects of global warming are irreversible, confirms the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Council on Climate Change (IPCC). The rising water level is one of them. It is more or less certain that the water rises every year. Therefore, how quickly this will happen depends, among other things, on how quickly people manage to reduce current CO2 emissions.
Scenarios with consequences for temperature rise
In the report, the IPCC takes into account five different scenarios. The scenarios vary from low CO2 emissions with a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees to high CO2 emissions with a temperature increase of 2.6 degrees over 50 years. Based on these principles, various consequences are drawn up.
Consequently, within 60 years, it is very real that the beaches of Barceloneta, Matalascañas, and La Manga will no longer exist. And these are not the only beaches in Spain.
Which places in Spain are at risk from rising water?
The IPCC, together with NASA, has identified a number of critical spots along the Spanish coast on a map. In particular, the towns of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Cádiz, and Barcelona, will be affected by the rise in water levels within 60 years. Therefore, it is very likely the island of Tenerife will have to arm itself against a 26 cm rise in the water level within 30 years. And in 2080, this will probably have increased to no less than 40 cm.
Models predict a 24 cm rise in water levels off the coast of Barcelona and Cadiz in 2050 and 39cm by 2080. El Español’s Spanish-language article shows the 2050 and 2080 forecasts for several key coastal areas of Spain.
Many Spanish coastal towns at risk in 2080
The general conclusion of the most realistic scenario is that about 80% of the analysed coastal towns in Spain will experience a rise in water level above 40 cm by 2080. In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Barcelona, Cádiz, La Coruña and Santander this will probably be more than 45 cm.
Which factors are included in future models?
The two main factors of rising water levels are well known by now. The CO2 emissions, which are still too high. And the melting of the ice caps ensures a continuous rise in the water. Based on the now known figures, the IPCC and NASA were able to make these models.
A new factor that makes the situation even more worrisome is the severe gota frías, which cause flooding and make riverbanks and coastal areas extra vulnerable. An alarming situation not only for Spain but for many places around the world.