Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Winemaking and climate change

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

From El País in English

Spain will be one of the areas most affected by climate change,” he said, adding that a one-degree temperature change pushes the boundaries of winemaking as much as 100 kilometers north – the fact that Britain now has 1,000 hectares of winemaking land would have been unthinkable just 150 years ago. Spain, by comparison, has 2.9 million acres of land planted with wine-producing vines.

Vultures and climate change

Monday, October 18th, 2010

A new Spanish study has highlighted the role played by vultures in reducing energy consumption in Spain, saving the annual energy use of an estimated 9,000 homes and preventing 193,000 tons of CO2 from being released in the atmosphere. Spanish livestock farmers produces 380,000 tons of carrion, whose incineration involves a high energy cost. An adult vulture consumes some three kilos of meat a week, with all vultures in Spain consuming some 10,000 tonnes a year. Unfortunately the strict EU rules, as a result of mad cow’s disease, force many farmers to incinerate dead animals in official centres at a high cost to both them and in terms of CO2 production. I’d be interested in knowing how much CO2 the vultures would save if and when the EU rules are eventually relaxed.

More from 20 Minutos

Risk of drought exaggerated by the press

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Researchers from the University of Barcelona have  analysed all the articles published in the La Vanguardia newspaper between 1982 and 2007 linked to natural hazards, climate change and sustainable development. Over 25 years the press devoted more headlines to forest fires and droughts, even though floods are much more frequent and cause more damage. The article’s main author Carme Llasat comments:

If the press focus more on forest fires and droughts, then people also become more aware of these events, to such an extent that they are deemed a more significant hazard in the area and more frequent occurrences than they really are”

This is a fascinating study on how the media fuels the public perception of environmental hazards. More here

Long legged buzzard in Spain

Monday, February 1st, 2010

A pair of long-legged buzzards (Buteo rufinus) have established themselves in the Tarifa area in Andalucia. Although the species is occasionally spotted as vagrant, this is the first time since  records began that a pair has settled in Spain. Long-legged buzzards are an African species, present across the Straits  in Morocco. It is thought that warming temperarures have brought them further north. El Mundo

Climate change in Catalonia

Friday, December 4th, 2009

ICO, the Catalan Ornithological Institute, have published a study on changes in the bird population in Catalonia. The climate of Barcelona is now similar to Castellon a hundred years ago, while Montpellier up in France is now like Barcelona used to be.  This shift has meant birds such as hoopoes no longer leave Catalonia for the winter. Cetti’s warblers and Bee-eaters have been doing remarkably well, growing by 71% and 98%, respectively. Earlier springs and extended summers mean they have a longer breeding season. Butterflies, like the Monarch are now spotted as far north as the Delta del Ebro. A bird running out of cooler habitats in Catalunya is the Alpine Chough.The study also points out that birds are adapting to climate change by moving northwards and upwards, but at a slower rate than the actual changes taking place.

Adapted from Lucy’s post on the forum and orginally from El Periodico.

Storks back early

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Large numbers of storks have returned to Spain several months early from the Sahel driven not by global warming but by African drought and the promise of rich pickings on Iberian rubbish tips and ricefields. Some 30,000 don’t even bother making the journey anymore. La Crónica Verde

Sierra Nevada selected for world climate change studies

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

The Sierra Nevada is one the most vulnerable sites in Europe to climate change  thanks to its position between the Europe and Africa, between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and because of its mountainous nature, with huge changes in habitat in just a few kilometres. The Park’s Observatorio de Cambio Global (above photo) has now been  selected by Unesco as one of ten sites in the world for its climate change studies. Temperatures are expected to rise by 2 degrees in the next 40 years with a fall in rainfall if 10%, reducing significantly the amount of snow with serious affects on the ski industry, irrigtation and biodiversity. El País

The Sierra Nevada is one of the most important biodiversity hotspots in Europe. All five of Spain’s bioclimatic zones are present here from Mediterranean up to crioromediterraneo, supporting up to 2,100 plant species of the total of 7,000 recorded for Spain. The fact that the whole of the British Isles only support some 1,900 plants will give you some idea of why botanists get so excited about the place. More

See also (2004)

The unique plant communities of the high Sierra Nevada appear to be under threat from rising temperatures. According to the Andalucian government, a rise of 1.2ºC has been detected in the province of Granada over the last 20 years, which although not much in itself has been enough to endanger 65 endemic plants, most of which are only to be found in the highest altitudes of the range. Like its African and Andean counterparts, the pseudo-alpine habitat, known cumbersomely as crioromediterraneo in Spanish, is extremely sensitive to changing temperatures, and gradually plants are being forced ever higher in search of cold enough conditions. More

Warm October

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

Temperatura octubre 2009

Summer has seemingly refused to die this year in Spain. Official figures show that October was the fourth hottest since 1971, after 1995, 19997 and 2006. In some areas, temperature were as much three degrees above average. Rainfall was slightly below normal values.

These temperatures had been predicted at the start of the month. In a similar vein, temperatures in August in Spain were “extremely hot”, being the third highest since 1970 (2003 and 2005 were hotter).

Warm autumn predicted

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

The Spanish Meteorological Agency (AEMET) is predicting a warm autumn for 2009 with temperatures 1 to 1.5ºC above average, especially for the Mediterranean area. Precipitation figures are expected to be normal. In a similar vein, temperatures in August in Spain were “extremely hot”, being the third highest since 1970 (2003 and 2005 were hotter). The hottest temperature was recorded in Alcantarilla (Murcia) on 23 August with a scorching 45ºC. El Mundo

Tourism in Spain under threat

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Spain is currently the world’s second-biggest tourist destination after France, with the population of 45 million being bolstered every year by as many as 60 million foreign visitors, 80% of whom flock to the coasts. Tourism contributes more than 11 per cent of Spain’s GDP and employs more than two million people. These figures are going to fall in the next few years because of the economic crisis, but the sector faces a much greater long-term threat, that of climate change. According to the Fundación Empresa y Clima “the changes are going to be far more drastic than those caused by the current economic crisis”. Impact are likely to include higher temperatures, loss of beaches due to sea level rise, loss of biodiversity and ecosystems, the reduction of water resources and the increase in forest fires. El Mundo

Meanwhile, the EU has delivered a stinging criticism of Spain’s property laws, allowing urban sprawl and corruption, voting overwhelmingly to freeze hundreds of millions of euros in Spain’s EU funding if the Spanish government does not tackle what the parliament condemned as “extensive urbanisation” practices. BBC

And again, the long-term prospects for the traditional Spanish tourist industry may not be rosy. Over-development of the country’s coasts has seen them lose their much of their appeal for tourists. Some statistics:

  • In the six years between 2000 and 2006, urban development within the first two kilometers of the coast of Huelva increased by 48.1 percent.
  • Urban sprawl in Valencia increased by 53.1 percent. In just six years, concrete was blighting one out of every 10 previously untouched kilometers of Valencia’s coastline.
  • In Alicante and in the Andalusian province of Málaga, more than half of the first two kilometers of coast are under concrete. In Barcelona, just 32 percent of the coastline remains undeveloped. Across Spain, coastal urban sprawl has increased by 22 percent in just six years.

La Comunidad Valenciana construyó un 10% de su costa en sólo seis años (EL País)