The sea level could rise by up to a metre by 2100. | Efe


On Thursday, the Balearic government published research into the effects of rising sea levels because of climate change.

The study, which has taken two years, is the starting-point for the government's programme for considering the impact of climate change on the islands' coasts. One of the researchers, Lluís Gómez Pujol from the University of the Balearic Islands, said at a presentation on Thursday that any low-lying area by the coast, up to the height of one metre, is potentially susceptible to being overwhelmed by the end of this century. In this regard, he mentioned Albufera on the bay of Alcudia and salt flats.

Juan Pedro Yllanes, the minister for energy transition, stated: "If we don't take this seriously, some houses and promenades in coastal areas will disappear. We won't see it, but future generations will."

Pujol added that by 2050 there will be physical evidence of the rise in sea level, which he estimates will be between 18 and 36 centimetres. By 2100, if emissions are reduced, the rise will be between 32 and 79 centimetres. If they are not reduced, then it will be between 45 and 103 centimetres. "We will still have beaches, but they won't be the same as now. We will have them especially in areas with dunes systems."

The dunes, he stressed, need to be cared for and protected. "If we want to have beaches in 2100, the dunes need to be in the best condition, because they are the store-room for the beaches." The most threatened areas, he noted, are the bay of Alcudia, sunken areas in Ibiza and Formentera and some low-lying parts of Minorca.

Yllanes observed that while the pandemic is monopolising discussion, it is necessary to focus on climate change. He pointed to the fact that there are unusually high temperatures for November and that this October was the warmest on record in parts of Europe. He stressed the importance of scientific evidence, such as that provided by the research, which has the added benefit of showing "in a clear and visual way how the sea is gaining ground and even buildings are being compromised".