Lisbon, a desert until the turn of the century?

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It is believed that’s a possibility, advance researchers studying climate scenarios based on temperature increases projected for the years ahead: Lisbon and cities like Évora and Sevilla may stay in the desert by 2100.

If global warming continues to change at the current rate, the increase of the desert areas will not be limited to North Africa, it will continue to spread across the south of the Iberian Peninsula, says a study published in the latest issue of Science.

This study is led by the French paleo climatologist Joel Guiot and he concluded that in less than a century, climate change will affect ecosystems in the Mediterranean “in a way that is unprecedented in the last 10 thousand years.

“The scenarios of greenhouse effect gases to levels agreed before the Paris Agreement will likely lead to a substantial expansion of deserts in much of southern Europe and North Africa,” the scientists write in the Science issue.

In the worst-case scenario described by researchers, the Southern Peninsula will become “a desert”, with consequences on the type of vegetation throughout the country – the Mediterranean vegetation will replace “the deciduous leaf forest in large areas of the Mediterranean basin”.

Only the values agreed in Paris that limit warming to 1.5 degrees, according to this study, allow changes in ecosystems remain within the values of the last 10,000 years.
The analysis does not include other types of impact, including urbanization and soil degradation, but all these processes that contribute to reduce vegetation aggravate the progress towards desertification.

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