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Massive damage as Mediterranean Sea heats 20% faster than world average

The warnings come from the conclusions of a new report presented in Barcelona today

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10 October 2019 07:03 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Mediterranean Sea has warmed up 20% faster than the world average since pre-industrial times, according to the conclusions of a study presented in Barcelona by the intergovernmental organization Union for the Mediterranean on Thursday. 

The report says that the temperature of the sea has risen 1.5 degrees in this time, and warns of the serious consequences of the climate crisis in the region. 

The study forecasts significant damage to the human population and biodiversity in the area, due to the increase in frequency and severity of droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires, with the level of the sea to increase by a meter by the year 2100.

Due to its effects on agriculture and food security, intense droughts have played an important role in the current regional crisis. The countries of the south and east of the Mediterranean are generally more vulnerable due to their limited socioeconomic adaptability to environmental changes. Conflicts related to the scarcity of resources (land, water, food) could increase human migration on a large scale.

Flooding and wildfire risks

Risks to coastal areas from floods and damage caused by storms pose important dangers for the infrastructures and means of subsistence of people. As heatwaves become stronger and more frequent, social support systems for the elderly and disadvantaged populations could become more fragile and increase social imbalances. Stronger heatwaves could lead to more wildfires like the one seen in southern Catalonia during the summer spreading.

In addition, without additional reduction measures, the regional temperature will increase by 2.2 degrees in 2040, possibly exceeding 3.8 degrees in some of the sub-regions by 2100. The report recalls that the Mediterranean home to around 500 million people.

Biodiversity

The Mediterranean basin is also one of the most important biodiversity areas in the world, but many ecosystems are already being threatened by the climate emergency, pollution, and overexploitation

The acidification of seawater and rising sea temperatures have already led to a loss of 41% of the main predators, including marine mammals, while 34% of fish species have been lost due to overfishing.

Environmental ministers within the Union for the Mediterranean group called for the study to be created back in 2014, and the conclusions of which were presented in a meeting that brought ministers from countries surrounding the sea to Barcelona.

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  • A colony of flamingos gather on a patch of land in the Delta de l'Ebre region in southern Catalonia (by Mariano Cebolla)

  • A colony of flamingos gather on a patch of land in the Delta de l'Ebre region in southern Catalonia (by Mariano Cebolla)

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