Top Spanish holiday destinations could disappear underwater – ‘permanent loss’

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Climate scientists have warned up to 65 percent of beaches on the stunning Balearic islands could be lost. The experts said the changes would be permanent.

The Oceanographic Centre of the Balearic Islands created a model to track sea change levels under current climate change.

Miguel Agulles, author of the study, said: “Here we show that climate change will lead to the permanent loss of more than 50 percent of the beach surface, rising up to more than 80 percent during storm conditions.”

The model’s predictions were based on a worst case scenario of climate change’s impact.

Beaches across the Balearic islands, including Ibiza and Mallorca, could be lost underwater forever.

According to the expert team, efforts to cut carbon emissions could save the Balearics from sinking.

The group has called on local and national Governments to reduce the impact of climate change on the beaches.

They suggested more seagrass could be planted. Posidonia Oceanica is native to the area.

Commonly known as Neptune Grass or the lungs of the sea, one hectare of Posidonia can soak up as much carbon dioxide as 15 hectares of rainforest.

Sadly, the seagrass has been damaged by pleasure boats’ anchors which can rip it up and destroy it.

While sea level rises will impact the beaches of the Balearic islands, the study explained that flood levels are also very important.

The study looked at the shape of each beach as well as how grainy the sand was and the extent of seagrass meadows.

The scientists then used the data to predict how likely the area was to suffer from coastal flooding.

Agulles said: “A detailed analysis of the evolution of each beach in the Balearic archipelago is very demanding on computer power.

“We have therefore devoted considerable effort in our study to develop methodologies for the analysis and to optimise the computation.”

Although the likelihood of extreme weather was found to be lower than previously thought, the team warned there would still be “devastating inroads on the coastline”.

At least 56 percent of the island’s regions are expected to be permanently lost to the sea by the end of the century.

In the most extreme model, 66 percent of the islands’ beaches would be flooded and lost.

This would mean that 72 of the Balearic islands’ 869 beaches would disappear while another 314 would be flooded during storms.

The study authors said that adaptation plans for the beaches needed to be put in place as soon as possible.

Rising sea levels due to climate change are likely to impact many countries around the world unless efforts are made to reduce emissions.

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