According to new research, by the end of the century, almost half of the world’s sandy beaches will retreat significantly due to climate-driven coastal flooding and human interference.
Wildlife will be endangered due to sand erosion and it can inflict a heavy toll on the coastal settlements. These zones will not have buffer zones for protection against rising sea levels and storm surges.
Also, it will become increasingly expensive for the government to take measures to mitigate the damage.
Erosion will destroy 36,097km (22,430 miles) or 13.6% of sandy coastlines in 30 years. These coastlines have been identified by scientists for the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European commission from satellite images. It is predicted that the situation will get worse in the second half of the century as 95,061km or 25.7% of Earth’s beaches will be washed away.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, if the world continues to emit at its current pace the sea levels will rise by an estimated 80cm. If this continues to happen, 131,745km of beaches or 13% of the planet’s ice-free coastline will go underwater.
Even if we expect the best-case scenario, the UK, Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, China, and the US will lose 1531km, 14,849km, 14,425km, 6,659km, 5,488km, 5,440km, and 5,530km of its sandy coast.
As per the study, the most hit areas will be Dorset, north Devon, Great Yarmouth, Barrow-in-Furness and north-east Lincolnshire in the UK.
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Michalis Vousdoukas, an oceanographer at the JRC and lead author of the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change said, “The length of threatened seashores incorporates locations that will be submerged by more than 100 meters, assuming there are no physical limits to potential retreat. Our 100-meter threshold is conservative since most beaches’ width is below 50 meters, especially near human settlements and in small islands, such as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.”