The Islands could see how 148 of their tourist beaches disappear, register forced displacement of people or see how endemic species of the coasts lose their habitat
The year 2050 is a key date when the effects of climate change would be so evident that they would completely transform the coasts of the Canary Islands, with all that this entails. According to an academic study presented to the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering by the Institute of Oceanography and Global Change (IOCAG), the rise in sea level in the Archipelago has been 7.94 in the last 27 years, a growth rate that makes it possible to predict that in 2050 it would rise to 18.1 centimeters .
This increase, whose origin is found in the melting of glaciers and thermal expansion, will bring about changes in coastal dynamics that would affect both the economy and the lives of people and endemic species of the Canary Islands. According to the Summary Report 2017-2021 of Risk assessment against climate change on the coasts of the Canary Islands, directed and executed by Grafcan, some 140 kilometers of coastline are at risk due to flooding and 148 beaches could disappear, which would affect the main economic engine of the Islands, tourism, generating losses of more than 4 million euros per year.
The study specifies that, in addition, 40,000 inhabitants could be affected, of which 5,000 would have to be forced to move due to the possibility that the sea could submerge some coastal areas. On the other hand, this situation will put in check the species that inhabit these regions and that, in many cases, will not be able to migrate to inland areas, which could cause their disappearance.
In this scenario, the most emblematic regions that could disappear are the town of Los Silos, the Maspalomas Lighthouse or the cave engravings of La Palma. As it is currently difficult to reverse the already evident consequences of climate change, projects such as LIFE Garachico -a project co-financed by the LIFE Program in a 50% and led by the Vice-Ministry for the Fight against Climate Change and Ecological Transition- propose testing an early warning system that allow the population of these areas to learn to live with these adverse coastal phenomena, a methodology that will later be tested in Puerto de la Cruz and Praia da Vitória, in the Azores.