Spain Could Turn Into A Desert If Global Warming Continues, Says Study

Posted: Oct 29 2016, 12:55am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 29 2016, 1:02am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Spain Could Turn into a Desert If Global Warming Continues, Says Study
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The vegetation and ecosystems of Spain alongside other Mediterranean parts will experience major shifts as temperatures rise

Global warming is on track to unsettle a vast majority of Mediterranean region with its devastating impact. 

Using climate change and historical data, a team of French researchers predict that deserts will be appear in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia and many other parts of the region if global warming is not kept in check. And this could happen by the end of the century.

Last year, around 200 countries agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, more likely to 1.5 degrees, during a summit in France. Limiting the global temperatures to 1.5 degree Celsius could help intact Mediterranean ecosystems. Though, this could be a daunting task as average temperatures in the region have already risen by 1.3 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century. 

Researchers have examined the pollen in layers of mud in lakes to understand the changes Mediterranean has undergone during the last 10,000 years. Pollen record can help assess the effect of temperatures on plant life and eventually on climate. For instance, more oak pollen suggests humid and temperate climates while more fir and spruce pollen indicated chillier conditions. Researchers found that Mediterranean ecosystems stayed within bounds of past 10,000 years when global warming remained at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius. But if global warming hits 2 degrees, deserts would expand in Spain, North Africa and the Near East. To limit the changes in Mediterranean ecosystems, it is necessary to restrict rising global temperatures and restricting warming to just 1.5 ºC will require substantial cuts to the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions.

“Pollen cores from sediments provide rich detail on the history of vegetation and climate in the Mediterranean during the Holocene (the most recent ~10,000 years).” Study reads.

“Vegetation and land-use systems observed in the Holocene records may persist under a 1.5°C warming above preindustrial temperature levels. A 2°C warming, however, is likely over the next century to produce ecosystems in the Mediterranean basin that have no analog in the past 10,000 years.”

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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