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According to the official report on Climate Change in the Spanish Marine Environment, increases in sea level, both in the Cantabrian Sea and in the Mediterranean, will not exceed 3 mm per year, some, such as Tenerife, do not even reach an increase of 1 millimeters per year.
Coastal areas would not suffer this impact. But this does not mean that we have been spared. A study carried out by the Ministry of the Environment affirms that more than 70% of the Spanish territory, including islands, are at risk of becoming desert. A forecast that agrees with that of a study published in Science, both date 2090.
The challenge of desertification
Desertification is defined, in the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), as the degradation of the lands of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid zones resulting from various factors, such as climatic variations and human activities.
According to this Convention, in terms of geographical scope, the areas susceptible to desertification are arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, (that is, those areas in which the ratio between annual precipitation and potential evapotranspiration is between 0, 05 and 0.65). Thus, according to l
According to the established definition, large areas of the Spanish geography are potentially affected by the desertification process.
In fact, more than two thirds of the Spanish territory belongs to the categories of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.
Relationship between desertification and climate change
Desertification is already a real problem or a threat to a very important part of the Spanish territory. To the traditional factors -fires, erosion, salinization, etc.- are added the effects related to climate change.
The projections on climate change in Spain point, among other things, towards increasing aridity and an increase in temperatures, that is, they point to more favorable scenarios for desertification processes.
An increase in the risk of the occurrence of forest fires is also expected, which is another element that affects desertification.
In summary, several negative circumstances are added: an important part of the surface of the Spanish territory is in "areas susceptible to desertification" as defined by the Convention to Combat Desertification and, therefore, is, by its location, currently threatened by desertification processes
on. Added to this are the impacts that are projected due to the effects of climate change, which will act by increasing some of the factors that influence the increase in desertification (temperature increase, alteration
precipitation, increased risk of fires, increases in torrentiality, etc.), that is, the different climate change scenarios foresee that these problems will worsen in a generalized way and, especially, in Spain with a dry and semi-arid Mediterranean climate.
Forest fires are a phenomenon that, in itself, is natural in Mediterranean areas, whose climate and floristic composition favor them. However, the abandonment of the traditional uses of the mountains, caused above all by rural depopulation, tourist and urban pressure and other socioeconomic factors have increased their number and affected area, widely exceeding the normal limits of a natural phenomenon. . The relationship with the concept of desertification as it is considered by the
The Convention to Combat Desertification is clear: repeated forest fires are the main agent of soil degradation due to the lasting loss of natural vegetation.
Climate change in our country will exacerbate fire risk indexes with the consequent influence on desertification processes.
The full report can be viewed and downloaded here