The natural phenomenon of beach erosion will worsen in the near future and may have more serious consequences than thought according to a study published in Nature Climate Change.
According to researchers, up to half of the world’s beaches could disappear by the end of the century due to the continuous rise in sea level caused by global warming climate change.
Sandy beaches are not few and cover up to 33% of the world’s coastline. As well as being popular meeting places, especially during the summers, they are also important on an environmental level because they act as a “buffer” protecting the coast and coastal ecosystems in general from the force of the waves and the erosion continuously brought by the sea.
The erosion of the world’s beaches will be accelerated not only by the rise in sea level but also by the growing population and wild urbanization that increasingly sees the construction of buildings of all kinds along the coast, right down to the beaches.
The study was carried out by scientists from the Joint Research Centre, an office set up by the European Commission. The researchers analyzed the data collected during 35 years of observation by satellites of the coast.
They combined these data with 82 years of climate forecasting and sea level rise data. By performing complex simulations, including storm events that could accelerate beach erosion itself, the researchers came to the above conclusion, which was in some ways very worrying.
However, they also came to the conclusion that limiting greenhouse gas emissions could prevent as much as 40% of the erosion predicted in these models.
In particular, the health levels of rivers and watercourses must be taken into account: these systems are characterised by an important action, that of transporting sediments which in turn act as material for restoring and maintaining the sand level of beaches.