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Spanish Desert By 2100

 

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Climate Change Study Sees Spanish Desert By 2100

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A climate change study conducted by researchers at Aix-Marseille University in France predicts that southern European areas abutting the Mediterranean — particularly southern Spain — could become deserts as soon as the year 2100 if the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions continues unchecked. Anything less than extremely ambitious and politically challenging carbon emissions cuts will see ecosystems in the Mediterranean change to a state unprecedented in the past 10,000 years, according to the researchers, Joel Guiot and Wolfgang Cramer.

The study, published in the journal Science, looked at what would happen to vegetation in the Mediterranean basin under four different paths of future carbon emissions. The worst case scenario assumed no steps were taken to reduce carbon emissions. The best case scenario assumes the measures anticipated by the COP 21 climate agreement agreed to in Paris last December are put into effect.

Assuming no action is taken to mitigate increased emissions, the pair predicts that temperatures will rise nearly 5º Celsius by 2100. That is a staggering increase that would significantly alter vegetation patterns in and around the Mediterranean.  That would cause deserts to expand northwards across southern Spain and Sicily as Mediterranean vegetation replaces deciduous forests.

Read the full article: Planet Save

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.