Climate change impacts in Mediterranean basin

Climate change impacts in the Mediterranean basin - what the IPCC 4th Assessment Report has found:
  • Mediterranean ecosystems may be among the most impacted by global change drivers. Temperature increases greater than about 2°C could result in desert and grassland expansion at the expense of shrublands, and mixed deciduous forest expansion at the expense of evergreen conifer fores [4.4.4]
  • Semi-arid and arid areas are particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change on freshwater (high confidence) and will suffer a decrease of water resources due to climate change [3.4, 3.7].
  • Warmer and drier conditions are partly responsible for reduced forest productivity and increased forest fires. Both agriculture and forestry have shown vulnerability to recent trends in heat waves, droughts and floods [1.3.6].
  • In response to warmer temperatures shifts have been noted in the kelp forests / macroalgae communities [1.3.4.3].
  • Computed groundwater recharge decreases dramatically by more than 70% along the south rim of the Mediterranean Sea (reference climate normal 1961-1990 and the 2050s) [3.4.2]
  • Most areas experience 20-34% increase in number  ≥7day periods with Forest Fire Weather Index > 45: increased fire frequency converts forest & Macquis to scrub, causes more pest outbreaks with 2.6°C above pre-industrial levels [Table 4.1]
  • Coastal vegetated wetlands are sensitive to climate change and long-term sea-level change [6.4.1.4].
  • Increased sea temperatures may trigger large scale disease-related mortality events of dolphins in the Mediterranean [12.4.6].
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Gustavo YBARRA
Dolphins in the Mediterranean are contaminated with harmful chemicals
© WWF-Canon / Gustavo YBARRA

WWF work

What WWF is doing on the ground in the Mediterranean basin to protect against climate change:

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