Climate change could lead to disappearance of beaches around the world
The beaches occupy more than a third of the global coast and have high socio-economic value related to tourism and ecosystem services. The beach is the link between the land and the ocean, providing coastal protection against sea storms and cyclones. However, a substantial proportion of the world's beaches are already eroding, a situation that is accentuated by climate change.
In a recent survey published by Nature Climate Change magazine, it is estimated that almost half of the world's beaches will disappear by 2100. The main cause of these changes in the world's landscape is the rise in sea levels linked to the new climate scenario. According to the study, sea levels have risen over the last 25 years, and even if there is a moderate mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, more than a third of the planet's coasts could disappear by the end of the century, strongly damaging the coastal tourism industry in many countries.
According to the analysis, beaches can lose, on average, between 80 and 250 meters of sand strip, which represents a very big shake for the whole world coast. "In practice, they will no longer exist. That's why Brazil urgently needs a well-designed climate adaptation plan based on science. Without this, the damage to our coastal cities, such as Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Vitória, among others, will be serious. The time to think about solutions is now. The worst action is to imagine that the problem does not exist," says Paulo Artaxo, professor at USP, a specialist in climate science and one of the Brazilian scientists members of the IPCC, in an interview for the website Direto da Ciência.
Signed by Michalis Vousdoukas, from the Joint Research Centre of the European Community in Ispra, Italy, and several collaborators, the article made several simulations based on climate change scenarios presented by IPCC for both 2050 and 2100. The group of researchers used a set of satellite images and mathematical models to obtain the results. In addition to sea level rise scenarios.
The method has uncertainties and limitations, but even so, scientists state in the text that the need for countries to design and implement effective adaptation measures is urgent. Much of the world's coastal areas are highly populated. Rising sea levels would then have serious impacts. In addition to adaptation, the moderate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years, as envisaged for example by the Paris Agreement, could reduce the effects on the disappearance of beaches by up to 40%.
The southeast of South America, which encompasses the southeast and southern regions of Brazil, and the northeast of the country will be affected by changes in coastlines, but they are not among the most problematic regions, according to analyses. By the end of the century, several countries will have more than 60% of their coasts affected, according to projections. Australia would be the most affected country with some 14,500 kilometers of coastline at risk of disappearing in the next 80 years.