Climate Change at the Local Scale: Trends, Impacts and Adaptations in a Northwestern Mediterranean Region (Costa Brava, NE Iberian Peninsula)

By Anna Ribas, Josep Calbó, Albert Llausàs and Joan A. Lopez-Bustins.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Costa Brava (NE Iberian Peninsula) is known for being one of the most popular summer tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. It includes some of the most productive irrigated agricultural areas in Catalonia and its rural landscape is highly appreciated. To analyze how these characteristics could be affected by climate change, projections of future climate have been downscaled based on the HadGEM1 model results (Hadley Centre, UK) for scenario A2, and also from recorded local meteorological data. Trends reflect a historical warming process (1975-1998: +0.7ºC/decade), large temporal and spatial variability in rainfall, and a sea level rise of 2.5mm/year in the last 15 years. Regional scenarios for the period 2010-2050 suggest an increase in mean temperatures of 1-1.5ºC, while for maximum summer temperatures, the increase may reach 3-4ºC. Rainfall might experience a severe decrease (up to 40% in summer). Under these projected conditions, even if present water demand is kept constant, we expect severe impacts mainly on agricultural activity due to water supply shortages. As a sector competing for water, tourism activity can also expect negative impacts due to sporadic water shortages, warmer temperatures beyond the comfort threshold in summer, and the impact of the sea level rising over sandy beaches and tourism infrastructure. On the other hand, new climatic conditions in spring and fall may be an opportunity to shift some tourism activity from summer to April, May, June, September and October. Adaptations to avoid negative impacts and to seize positive opportunities associated with climate change are discussed.

Keywords: Climate Change, Local Scale, Mediterranean Area, Costa Brava, Impacts, Adaptation

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.247-264. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.137MB).

Dr. Anna Ribas

Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography & Institute of the Environment, University of Girona, Girona, Spain

Dr. Josep Calbó

Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics & Institute of the Environment, University of Girona, Girona, Spain

Dr. Albert Llausàs

Associate Lecturer, Department of Geography & Institute of the Environment, University of Girona, Girona, Spain

Dr. Joan A. Lopez-Bustins

Junior Lecturer, Department of Physical Geography and Regional Geographical Analysis, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain


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