Mediterranean Basin facing bigger climate change impact: Study

Hong Kong, Oct 29 : The Mediterranean Basin is experiencing the impact of climate change more than ever owing to multiple environmental changes and risks that are affecting the livelihoods of people in the entire region, warn researchers.

The risks posed by climate change in the Mediterranean Sea were underestimated till date because each was only examined independently.

"In reality, they are interconnected and interact with social and economic problems exacerbating their impacts so they all have to be addressed at the same time and within the same financial constraints," said Michael Tsimplis, Professor at the University of Hong Kong.

The study explored that climate worsened the existing environmental problems caused by land use changes such as urbanisation and agricultural intensification, increasing pollution and declining biodiversity.

In addition, due to climate change alone, the irrigation demands in the region are projected to increase between 4 and 18 per cent by the end of the century.

While population growth is likely to escalate from 22 to 74 per cent, tourism development, new industries and urban sprawl may increase water pollution too.

Average temperatures in this region have already risen by 1.4 degrees Celsius since the pre-industrial era -- 0.4 degrees Celsius more than the global average.

Importantly, summer rainfall is at risk to be reduced by 10 to 30 per cent in some regions, thereby resulting in water shortages and decreased agricultural productivity, particularly in the southern countries, the study found.

According to the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, food production from agriculture and fisheries across the Mediterranean region is also changing due to the social, economic and environmental changes.

"Human security will also be threatened due to extreme weather, such as a rise in sea level posing a higher risk of storm surges for people living in coastal areas in the region," the findings showed.



Source: IANS