Half of the world's beaches could vanish due to climate change, new study warns

A new environmental study warned that half of the world's beaches are in danger of disappearing due to global warming

A team of scientists warned that by the end of the century, about half of the world's beaches would be gone due to the effects of global warming. The scientists noted that once shorelines disappear, affected areas would be vulnerable to stronger storms and mass flooding.

The new study provided projections of how much of the world's beaches would disappear by 2100. The findings of the scientists were presented in a new paper published in the journal Nature.

Effect Of Global Warming On Beaches

ocean beach

According to the authors of the study, one of the wide-scale effects of global warming is the overall sea-level rise. The scientists noted that due to melting glaciers and ice caps around the world, the oceans in different parts of the globe are increasing.

If this effect continues, the scientists warned that most of the world's sandy beaches and shorelines would completely go underwater by the end of the century. Based on their findings, Australia would experience the biggest beach loss with the disappearance of up to 15,000 kilometres of coastline in the next 80 years. It would then be followed by Canada, Chile and the US.

Destructive Effect Of Mass Beach Loss

Phanfone image
On Dec. 26, 2019, the MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA's Terra satellite provided a visible image of Tropical Storm Phanfone re-strengthening in the South China Sea NASA Worldview

Aside from these nations, 10 more countries would experience massive losses in their coastlines. Some of these countries include Mexico, China, Brazil, India and Argentina. If the coastlines of these countries completely disappear within the next decades, they would be left vulnerable to powerful storms and mass flooding. As noted by scientists, beaches serve as the primary defence system against storm surges.

"Apart from tourism, 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," Michalis Vousdoukas, the lead author of the study, said in a statement. "We have to prepare."

Inevitable Disappearance Of Beaches

Unfortunately, the researchers noted that beach loss caused by global warming is inevitable. Even if the world manages to significantly reduce fossil fuel pollution, over a third of the world's shorelines could still vanish.

According to the scientists' calculations, about 95,000 kilometres of shoreline would disappear in 2100 if the world limit's the current rise in global temperature. Although this still seems a lot, it is far better than the projected 132,000 kilometres of coastline-loss, which will happen in 2100 if nothing is done about global warming.