A study published March 2 in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, predicts that heavily populated coastline may be subject to increasing erosion, causing by the year 2100 almost half of the beaches in the world may disappear. The researchers used satellite images to track changes in the beaches over the last 30 years, says Fox News.
Erosion of the coastline in Miami. Photo: Shutterstock
“A significant portion of the sandy coast of the world is already destroyed, and this situation may be exacerbated by climate change, the researchers write. — We show that the trends in the dynamics of the shoreline in combination with the crisis in the coastal zone caused by sea-level rise can lead to an almost complete disappearance of nearly half of the sandy beaches in the world by the end of the century.”
The study’s lead author, Michalis Vousdoukas, said that half of these beaches “will erode more than 100 meters. Probably they will be lost.”
The beaches are valuable for recreation, tourism and wildlife and provide a natural barrier that protects coastal communities from waves and storms. A study published in February showed that extreme weather events caused by climate change can lead to economic decline, “the likes of which we’ve never seen before”.
Many coastal areas, including beaches, has already suffered greatly from human activities such as construction on the coast and inland dams, which reduce the amount of silt flowing into the oceans, which is crucial for the restoration of beaches.
“A significant portion of threatened sandy beaches located in densely populated areas, which emphasizes the need to develop and implement effective adaptive measures,” the study authors write.
Some places are affected much more than others. According to the authors, the Gambia and Guinea-Bissau in West Africa could lose more than 60% of its beaches.
Australia may be the most affected, in terms of lost total coastline of beaches — more than 7,500 miles (12 million kilometers). USA, Canada, Mexico, China, Iran, Argentina and Chile can also lose thousands of miles of coastline.
Vousdoukas and other researchers took into account several scenarios, including one where a global temperature rise of 2.4 degrees Celsius, and another one twice the size.
A separate study published in February, suggested that if in the next 50 years the global temperature will rise 0.5 degrees Celsius, about half the world’s species will become extinct locally. If the temperature rose by 2.9 degrees Celsius, would have died out 95% of species.
Vousdoukas said the historic Paris climate Treaty, which was signed in 2015 when the Obama administration was not taken into account, because it is unlikely to be achieved. In early November, the administration trump began its official withdrawal from the agreement.
In the framework of the Paris agreement on climate signed by nearly 200 countries, including China, the long-term goal is to limit the increase in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Despite the sad outcome of the study, not all hope is lost. The authors say that even “modest” reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could prevent 40% of potential retreat of the coastline.
Skeptics largely dismissed concerns about human impact on global warming, saying that climate change is happening since time immemorial. They also claim that the risk of warming the planet is greatly exaggerated, and questioned the impact that fossil fuels have had on climate change.