The new reality of the Mediterranean: accelerating impacts of climate change
Speaker: Samira Khodayar Pardo
Institution: Head of the Meteorology and Climatology Department of the Mediterranean Center for Environmental Studies (CEAM), Valencia, Spain, and Distinguished Researcher of Excellence (CIDEGENT-GVA)
The Mediterranean basin is a hot spot for climate change warming up to 1.5 times faster than the rest of the world with the Mediterranean Sea warming three times more than the oceans (MedECC 2020). A consensus exists about the magnification of extreme phenomena in the area under climate change (IPCC 2021). In fact, several types of risks currently affect and will continue affecting the region severely, from more frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, or floods, to increasing sea surface temperature and coastal erosion due to rising sea levels. The impacts affect the region’s ecosystems, economic activities, and, ultimately, human health. In addition, the effects also spread like “cascades” that generate multiple impacts in all socioeconomic sectors. Current change and future scenarios consistently point to significant and increasing risks during the coming decades in most impact domains such as water and energy resources, ecosystems, agriculture and food, fishery, health, and human security.
The impacts of climate change have accelerated on the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula in the last decades. In this presentation, we will discuss this acceleration based on observations of the notorious and progressive rise in atmospheric and sea surface temperature and the generalized reduction of mean accumulated precipitation in the region. In this context, the magnification of extreme weather phenomena in the region will be described in detail focusing on the spatio-temporal evolution of terrestrial and marine heat waves, as well as extreme precipitation in the autumn period.