According to a new study published in Nature Climate Change journal, up to 50 percent of the sandy beaches in the world are at a risk of disappearing if the needed actions against greenhouse emissions aren’t taken.
And, even if we assume there’s a better outcome for the actions on climate crisis, global emissions are expected to peak around the year 2040, so, more than 1/3 or 37 percent of the beaches would still be lost by 2100.
What Have Previous Analysis of Beaches Shown?
Researchers have previously analyzed satellite photos showing the changes in shorelines from 1984 to 2016.
They concluded that ¼ of the sandy beaches globally had already eroded at a rate of more than 0.5 m on a yearly basis or more than 28,000 square km of land to the sea.
Sea Level Rate Is Rising
The rate at which the seal levels are increasing is speeding up by around 0.1mm yearly, every year.
However, these rises won’t be the same across the globe. Much like atmosphere, sea surface has low and high pressure areas that form mounds and troughs.
Some are made by currents and therefore changes that will happen with the rise of temperature in the oceans will change the sea surface’s topography.
Some parts will have less than the predicted sea level rise; whereas many will experience more.
Our Beautiful Sandy Beaches Will Be Lost
Unfortunately, more than 60 percent of the sandy beaches in Gambia and Guinea-Bissau may be gone due to erosion from sea level rise whereas Australia may lose more than 12,000 km of sandy coasts.
If the Marshall Islands, Tuvaly, and Kiribati lose 300 m of land as it’s predicted for some, it will be a catastrophe.
Sandy Beaches Are at Risk the Most
Sandy beaches make more than 1/3 of the global coastline and from all different types of beaches; these are the most commonly used by people.
The softer parts of shores have been at the mercy of storms and tides.
However, the predicted rise of sea level pushes the boundary between the coast and sea inland, a process which is called coastal retreat.
The warming of seas will also lead to stronger and more common storms that can move whole beaches overnight.
For example, the Porthleven Beach in Cornwall, UK lost all its sand during a storm that happened in 2016 which came back brought by the tide several days later.