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Spain Global Warming
Being on the forefront of global warming, Al Gore once said, "We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences." Global warming is the increase in the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere and bodies of water. The consequences Al Gore had mentioned were the effects brought about by the rise in sea levels, changing behaviors of precipitation, and glaciers retreating. In addition, incidences of heat waves and droughts affect the yields in the agricultural industry, which then would influence the economics of food and the people. In particular, global warming in Spain has been affected environmentally, economically, agriculturally, and ecologically.
As stated previously, the environmental changes that global warming brings with it is a change in sea level, which is witnessed in Spain's disappearing beaches. In Spain, it's been predicted that over the next forty-years, such spaces of sand will diminish under a rising sea, which also threatens the habitats of beach homes. Spain's beaches are likely to diminish by an average of fifty-feet by the year 2050. Furthermore, global warming is melting the ice caps around Spain by 2.5mm annually, which would result in a 12cm to 15cm rise while the country's Atlantic coast is affected the most. Economically, the beach situation have affected entrepreneurs to the extent in which hotel owners have requested permission to bring their own sand to their shrinking beaches. Unfortunately, the beaches aren't the only things affected negatively but the ports are advised to raise their sea walls due to the alterations of the coastline. Weather has taken a hit in Spain with the incidences of hot summers, and in September 2006, it has been reported by Giles Tremlett that, "rainfall over the year up to September was 15% down on the average. The previous year had been down 21%." The reduction in rain has caused farmers to pray for its existence, and some even prayed to the patron saint for rain.
In the summer of 2003, Spain experienced a number of immense heat waves, which caused a number of deaths in the country. To be exact, Spain experienced and endured three heat waves that summer, and according to the study led by Simon, it reported the "total associated excess deaths were 8% (43212 observed deaths compared with 40046 expected deaths). Excess deaths were only observed in those aged 75 years and over (15% more deaths than expected for the age group 75 to 84 and 29% for those aged 85 and over)" (2005, 156). This is known as heat-associated excess mortality, and was cited as an increasing and growing problem due to global warming, especially on the elderly due to incidences of increased mortality.
Global warming will have a continuing influence on economics and the tourism flowage in North-West Spain. Tourism is one of the main business attractions in the aforementioned area of the country, and will be affected since "tourism trips are usually strongly conditioned by climate" (Garza-Gil, 2011, 12). Due to the change in Earth's atmosphere, and especially the shrinking beaches in Spain, the country will suffer economically since "approximately 44% of domestic trips is to visit and enjoy its beaches" (Garza-Gil, 2011, 14). The investigation concluded that, "when asked about the extent to which the climate influences their [the tourists] decisions to visit the north-west, 35% admit that this variable did indeed influence their decisions. For 76% of those who admitted to being influenced by the climate, it was negative or off-putting, mainly due to the risk of rain, low temperatures and the low temperature of the sea" (Garza-Gil, 2011, 24).
Agriculturally, Spain has had to adjust, not just in the aforementioned farming industry but also in the winemaking field. Due to the intense warmth and heat of the country due to the phenomenon that is known as global warming, winemakers like Miguel Torres has to drive two hours from his company's headquarters to the hills of vineyards that supply grapes with cool air, which would otherwise be destroyed in the heat. The climatic changes have caused Torres to purchase land higher off the ground, in colder aeration, as insurance. The weather influences the maturity of the grapes, which in turn affects the taste, and at last, the production of the wine. Moreover, when the product does not taste good, winemakers in Spain can't turn a profit, and suffer economically, too. Due to such circumstances, Torres has begun to control the climates under which his grapes grow in by maintaining a climate-controlled greenhouse in one of his vineyards. He is experimenting for the future by having one of the greenhouse temperatures be the average, which is the control, and the other one with temperature being three degrees C. higher. Further experimentation, as reported by Stephan Faris, involved "half the vines in each greenhouse are given only half the usual amount of water to stimulate the drop in rainfall that's expected to hit the region…In the control plot, a few grapes were just beginning to change color. In the other, they were a rich, rusty purple, ripening ahead of their time. The vines on the regimented water supply were thinner and less leafy than their properly irrigated counterparts" (2011, 2). Farmers harvesting grapes have had to move up their picking of the crops by as many as twenty-five days due to the increasing weather temperature in Spain. Others are investigating what can be done in the fields, for example, the way vines are placed for more shade, the rotation of crops, and irrigation system. Furthermore, some have decided to stop growing grapes that thrive in a lower climate and choose to plant another variety. Farmers must and are learning to adapt to their constant environmental changes brought about by global warming.
Ecological and economical influences of global warming have revealed itself in North-Western Spain. Fishing is an occupation and activity that is heavily dependent on the conditions of nature and the environment. Unfortunately, global warming has changed the intensity and behavior of ocean currents, increased temperature of the ocean, saline levels, and alterations in upwellings. In the aforementioned affected areas of Spain, anchovy is one of the ecological species that has a high commercial market value, and due to the instability and unpredictability of the ocean environment, the fishing industry is influenced. Global warming brings about the changing of the seas, which is due to the emission of different greenhouse gases. The study led by Garza-Gil resulted in a finding that, "the global warming will affect the ocean through changes in the sea temperature…And it has been shown that there has been a general warming of a large part of the world oceans during the past fifty years…the sea surface temperature is expected to increase by approximately the same amount as in the last decades, this is 0.027 C. per year…For the current warming scenario, we can see that as the sea surface temperature increases, both the catch level as well as the net profits fall for the overall fishery. In the specific case of the net profits, the decrease is estimated to stand at 1.28% using the year 2040 as the time horizon" (2011, 8).
Anchovies aren't the only ones affected in the situation of global warming, it has been investigated that in Central Spain, amphibians are diminishing in numbers at a rapid rate due to a disease known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. In a study led by Bosch, observations were made in Penalara Natural Park regarding the population of amphibians, and it is with the rise in temperature was there an increase in B. dendrobatidis incidences of death, and that "these local variables are driven by general circulation patterns, principally the North Atlantic Oscillation" (2007, 253).
Elizabeth Kolbert said, "People tend to focus on the here and now. The…[continue]
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