IMAGE COURTESY : DAILY SABAH
The Mediterranean Basin is a climate change hotspot. Last month western Mediterranean region was hit by heatwaves across Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Algeria, Israel. Global warming in the region is expected to occur at rates 20% higher than the global average – 50% higher in summer in the Northern Mediterranean – under a fossil fuel-intensive emissions scenario.
According to the latest research report by World Weather Attribution, a science initiative that investigates the links between climate change and extreme weather events, this was impossible would have been nearly impossible without the influence of climate change.
The Mediterranean Basin is considered a climate-change hotspot because warming associated with climate change in the region is expected to occur at rates 20% higher than the global average, and 50% higher in summer in the Northern Mediterranean, under a fossil fuel-intensive emissions business as usual scenario, where countries continue to burn fossil fuels unabated. R Recent studies on future climate impacts have focused on a warming scenario called “RCP8.5”. This high-emissions scenario is frequently referred to as “business as usual”, suggesting that is a likely outcome if society does not make concerted efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Average summer temperatures in the Mediterranean Basin are expected to increase by up to 5°C by 2070-2100 under a high-emissions scenario (IPCC report), by around 4°C under an intermediate-emissions scenario (IPCC report), and by around 2.7°C under a low-emissions scenario (IPCC report). In the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco, a maximum summer temperature increase of 6.5°C is projected for the same period under the high-emissions scenario.
The sea level of the Mediterranean Sea is projected to rise by 7-12 cm by 2050 under an intermediate-emissions scenario (IPCC report), and under 3°C of warming could rise by as much as 1.1 m around 2100 (IPCC). Around 37% of coastal regions in the Mediterranean face moderate to high risk of erosion and flooding from sea-level rise and extreme events.
The writer of this article is Dr. Seema Javed, an environmentalist & a communications professional in the field of climate and energy