MUCH of the Balearics could be under water before the end of this century.
A recent study carried out by the Spanish Oceanographic Institute in collaboration with the Balearic and Malaga universities, the National Meteorological Institute and the Spanish Port Authority concludes that sea levels have been rising since the 1970s.
With the rate of increase growing in recent years, the level of the Mediterranean could increase by up to half a metre in the next 50 years.
The Balearic Government's recently established climate change commission will find the report interesting reading, especially as the region's beaches, which are the pillars of the tourist industry, face the very real risk of disappearing.
The Spanish Oceanographic Institute's report was published on Friday and states that even a small rise could have serious consequences in coastal areas and could also pose a threat to low-lying property and marinas. The study noted that the findings were consistent with other investigations into the effects of climate change.
The study, entitled Climate Change in the Spanish Mediterranean, claims that the sea has risen between 2.5mm and 10mm (0.1 and 0.4in) per year since the 1990s.
If the trend continued, it would have very serious consequences in low-lying coastal areas, even in the case of a small rise, and catastrophic consequences if a half-metre increase occurred, the study warned.
Scientists noted that sea temperatures had also risen significantly by 0.12 to 0.5C since the 1970s.
Sea level rise is a key effect of global climate change and the Balearic commission has been set up with the mandate of addressing the consequences of climate change which the Balearics specifically faces.
According to Friday's report, there are two major contributory effects: the melting of ice and the expansion of sea water as the oceans warm.
Over the past two summers there has been very clear evidence of rising sea temperatures in the Balearics.
The principal proof being the invasion of jelly fish which is primarily caused by warmer sea temperatures.
Last month, a study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that the world's sea levels could rise twice as much this century as United Nations climate scientists had previously predicted. But is there a solution?