Report claims “85 per cent of region” could be hit by desertification
THE arid and semi-arid zones of Andalucia must be protected from human activity if desertification in the region is to be stopped.
That is the finding of a report presented to a conference on climate change in Madrid.
Natural desertification in Andalucia is centred on the province of Almeria, with 17 per cent of its surface area covered by natural desert.
However, the authors of Plan Andaluz de Control de la Desertificación believe an average of 28 per cent of the entire region is affected by desertification as a result of human activity.
The report continues the surface area affected by desertification could rise to an alarming 85 per cent in the near future with a combination of a predicted increase in temperature and drop in precipitation.
“We find ourselves in a difficult situation, which depends not only on human activity but the future evolution of the Mediterranean climate.”
The average temperature of Andalucia has increased by 1.2 degrees Celsius since 1915. Average rainfall between 1991 and 2000 in Andalucia was down 9.5 per cent in comparison to the precipitation in the period 1961-1991.
In the Granada-Almeria region, precipitation decreased by 18 per cent in the same period.
The study, which was presented in Spain’s capital to the Eighth United Nations Conference on Desertification, also claims maximum temperatures in Andalucia will increase by a further 2.2 degrees by 2050.
The region’s minimum temperatures are set to rise by 1.7 degrees.
More alarming, concluded the report, is that by the year 2100 maximum temperatures will rise by 4 degrees and minimum by 5.4 degrees.
If the prognostic is correct, the report continues, “Andalucia’s different mountain ranges will become homogenous. The sub-climates of the Sierra Nevada [in Granada] and Cazorla [Jaén] will disappear and become more like those close to the Strait of Gibraltar. The desert of Almería will extend westwards and Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal temperatures will rise.”