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Half of the world’s beaches could disappear at the end of the century due to climate change, erosion and sea level rise, a study warns.
The ongoing climate crisis is on its way to destroying half of the world’s sandy beaches by the end of the century, a new study warns.
The sandy coasts of many areas of high population and points of tourist interest are threatened by erosion, climate change and sea level rise.
Areas at risk include Surfers Paradise in Queensland, St Tropez, Honolulu, Copacabana, Costa del Sol and Weymouth.
But researchers offer a glimmer of hope and believe that a moderate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions could prevent 40 percent of the expected loss.
Researchers from the Joint Research Center of the European Commission in Ispra, in northern Italy, analyzed satellite images of sandy beaches for 30 years.
The sandy beaches occupy more than a third of the global coast and are valuable in many ways, as they provide economic income through recreation and tourism. They are also very valuable for the environment, as they provide natural protection against storms and cyclones. However, erosion, rising sea levels and climatic changes threaten the infrastructure and people of the coast.
Some countries will be more affected than others, as Gambia and Guinea-Bissau will face the loss of more than 60 percent of their white sand beaches.
“Overall, Australia would be the most affected with around 7,500 miles (12,000 km) of beach at risk. Canada, Chile, Mexico, China and the United States would also be greatly affected.”
Between a quarter and a half of the UK’s sandy beaches will recede over a hundred meters over the next century, depending on how fast the polar ice sheets melt, according to Professor Andrew Shepherd, director of the Center for Polar Observation and Modeling at the University of Leeds.
The researchers used computer modeling systems to predict how beaches, in their currently depleted state, would deteriorate as climate change worsens.
Two eventualities of ‘representative concentration pathways (CPR)’ for global warming were predicted, each representing a future of varying severity.
The researchers observed how human activity and geological processes cause the withdrawal of the coast, as well as the damage caused by storms to make their findings.
Dr. Suzana Ilic, from Lancaster University, said: ‘This new research shows that about 30 percent and 60 percent of low-lying areas off sandy beaches will be seriously threatened by erosion, due to climate change due to the high emission of greenhouse gases by the mid and late 21st century, respectively. The study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.