MAR 05, 2020 7:41 PM PST

Beaches Could Disappear Because of Climate Change

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

A study published earlier this week in Nature Climate Change reports that effective climate action is needed to prevent 40% of erosion threatening the world’s sandy beaches. Without action, the study says that half of the world’s beaches could disappear by the end of the century due to the combined impacts of storm surges, waves, and rising seas associated with global climate change. The research was led by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center.

According to an article from the European Commission (EC) regarding the study, sandy beaches cover more than a third of the world’s coastlines. In addition to providing recreation space for humans and vital habitat for wildlife, sandy beaches protect coastal ecosystems from storm surges, flooding, and waves. With the projected rise in storm intensity and sea-level rise worldwide, both due to climate change, the preservation of sandy beaches is paramount.

The EC cites that this is the first global assessment of the future of sandy shorelines. Scientists from the Joint Research Center analyzed 35 years of coastal satellite observations and 82 years of climate and sea-level rise projections. Additionally, they simulated more than 100 storm events to estimate global erosion. The scientists used scenarios of 2.4 degrees Celsius of global temperature rise and an increase of twice as much.

A summary of the study in Nature stated that by the end of the century, many of the world’s coastlines will have shifted more than 100 meters from their 2010 positions. The most impacted regions, with more than 60% of sandy beaches affected, are projected to be the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Gambia, Suriname, and Pakistan. Australia would lose the most sandy coastline at a minimum of 11,426 kilometers. Time Magazine reports that the study also predicts that the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Iran, Argentina, and Chile could also lose thousands of kilometers of beaches.

The EC also states that poorer low-lying countries are “particularly vulnerable” to future coastal hazards. They suggest that investments or societal change may help reduce the risk of these countries.

Sources: Nature Climate Change, European Commission, Nature, Time

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
You May Also Like
JUL 03, 2020
Earth & The Environment
The secrets uncovered in the South American Drought Atlas
JUL 03, 2020
The secrets uncovered in the South American Drought Atlas
A crucial new resource has been added to climate science recently: the most recent edition of the South American Drought ...
AUG 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The fluid dynamics of injection-induced earthquakes
AUG 06, 2020
The fluid dynamics of injection-induced earthquakes
While injection-induced earthquakes have become commonplace in oil fields where wastewater is pumped deep into the Earth ...
AUG 10, 2020
Earth & The Environment
The impacts of deep sea-bed mining are worse than we thought
AUG 10, 2020
The impacts of deep sea-bed mining are worse than we thought
Scientists at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa report heightened concerns over the ecological impacts of deep-seab ...
SEP 17, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Concerns about carbon monoxide concentrations from CA's wildfires
SEP 17, 2020
Concerns about carbon monoxide concentrations from CA's wildfires
As California faces its worst wildfire season yet, with 28 major fires burning throughout the state as of September 14, ...
OCT 09, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Machine learning + history = more accurate sea-level rise
OCT 09, 2020
Machine learning + history = more accurate sea-level rise
Researchers yet again toward our planet’s past to understand what might be in store for our future. In a new study ...
OCT 20, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Why the Weddell Sea is warming five times faster than the rest of the ocean
OCT 20, 2020
Why the Weddell Sea is warming five times faster than the rest of the ocean
New research published in the Journal of Climate finds that the Weddell Sea in Antarctica is warming five times fas ...
Loading Comments...