Thursday 12 March 2020
How will this affect coastal tourism? Photo: Unsplash

Half of the world’s sandy beaches could disappear by the end of the century as climate change and rising sea levels continues to wreak havoc on the planet, according to a study published in the Nature Climate Change journal.

The scientists conducted the study with the use of satellite images to measure how coastlines have evolved since 1984. Next, the researchers plotted trend lines across three decades of satellite imagery. From this, they used various projections of sea level rise to model how sandy beaches and shores could be affected in the future.

sandy beach
What’s the future of our coastal ecosystem? Photo: Unsplash

How climate change affects sandy beaches over the years

Lead author Michalis Vousdoukas, a researcher at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre expects the world to lose 49.5 % of its sandy beaches by 2100 – nearly 132,000 kilometres of coastline. Even by mid-century, the loss would be more than 40,000 kilometres.

Based on the findings, Australia could be hit hardest, with nearly 15,000 kilometres of white-beach coastline washed away over the next 80 years, followed by Canada, Chile and The United States of America. Other countries who are set to be most affected are Mexico, China, Russia, Argentina, India and Brazil.

umbrellas on beach
The loss of our beaches will surely keep tourists away. Photo: Unsplash

“Sandy beaches often act as the first line of defence from coastal storms and flooding, and without them impacts of extreme weather events will probably be higher,” said Vousdoukas. This would also severely cripple coastal tourism in countries affected.

Other experts also weighed in on the findings on climate change and sandy beaches. “The study’s linkage of global coastal degradation to (fossil fuel) combustion is a landmark advance,” said Jeffrey Kargel,” a senior scientist at the Planetary Research Institute in Tucson, Arizona. Kargel added that coastal erosion of the Indus and Ganges delta areas of South Asia is expected to be extremely rapid.

Sorce: AFP Relax News