Scientists say that half of the world’s sandy beaches could disappear by the end of the century if climate change continues unchecked.
Researchers at the European Union’s Joint Research Center in Italy used satellite images to track beach changes over the past 30 years and simulated how global warming might affect them in the future. The results showed half of the beaches will experience erosion of more than 100 meters and will likely be lost.
The study found that the erosion depends on how much temperatures increase by the year 2100. Greater temperature increases mean more sea level rise and more violent storms, causing more beaches to vanish.
Beaches are valuable for recreation, tourism and wildlife, while also providing a natural barrier that protects coastal communities from waves and storms. Australia would be hardest-hit in terms of total beach coastline lost, with over 11,400 kilometers at risk.