Climate change impacts in Spain

Climate change impacts in Spain - what the IPCC 4th Assessment Report has found:
  • The southern Iberian Peninsula could be one of the regions most affected by increase in year-to-year variability in summer climates and thus a higher incidence of heat waves and droughts. Mediterranean droughts would start earlier in the year and last longer [12.3.1.2.].
  • By 2070s, a 100 year drought of today’s magnitude would return, on average, more frequently than every 10 years in parts of Spain (and Portugal, western France, the Vistula Basin in Poland, and western Turkey) [3.4].
  • Evidence of significant recent range shifts to higher elevation:
  • In central Spain where 16 butterfly species have displayed an upward shift of 210 m in the lower elevational limit between 1967-73 and 2004 (due to increased temperature) [1.3.5.2].
  • Treeline has shifted to higher altitudes due to increased temperature [1.3.5.2].
  • Exotic thermophilous plants spreading into the native flora [1.3.5.3].
  • Amphibian extinctions/extinction risks on mountains due to climate-change induced disease outbreaks with temperature increase of 0.6°C above pre-industrial levels [Table 4.1].
  • Spain will experience a lengthening and a flattening of their tourism season by 2030. Occupancy rates associated with a longer tourism season in the Mediterranean will evenly spread demand and thus alleviate the pressure on summer water supply and energy demand [12.4.9]
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Michel Gunther
Marshlands are an important part of the Doñana National Park ecosystem. Andalusia, Spain.
© WWF-Canon / Michel Gunther

WWF work

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

Key contacts

Climate Witnesses

WWF runs the Climate Witness programme to collect people's local observations of climate change that are then verified by scientists.
José Luis Oliveros Zafra, a 46-year old Spanish farmer, lost 100% of his leguminous and cereal crops in 2005 because of that summer’s devastating drought. As the weather becomes less predictable, agriculture in Spain becomes more difficult.
Erica de Graaff-Hunter has lived in Mallorca, Spain since 1956. In that time the sea level has risen about 10 cm and her swimming platform is now partly underwater. An increase in jellyfish make swimming risky.

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