Many party-loving sunseekers make it their go-to spot every summer. However, a new study is sure to cause panic in Ibiza-lovers. 

Scientists have warned that up to 65 per cent of all beaches in the Balearic Islands will be permanently lost by the end of the century – and climate change is to blame.

To assess sea level rises under the current climate change projections of researchers at the Oceanographic Centre of the Balearic Islands, a model was developed.

The impact of the climate crisis in coastal areas is well known, but this study focuses on the Balearics.

Balearic Islands has more than 25 percent of its economy from sun- and beachtourism. It would be a tragedy if these islands were to lose their beaches due to climate change. 

Miguel Agulles, study author, said, “Here, we demonstrate that climate change will cause the permanent loss more than 50% of the beach’s surface and rise up to over 80 percent during storms.”

The team stated that although these predictions assume the worst scenario for climate change, efforts to reduce carbon emissions may result in a substantial reduction of sea-level rises all over the globe.

The group also calls on the local and national government to take measures to decrease climate change risks on beaches. This includes planting more seagrass.

Up to 65 per cent of all beaches in the Balearic Islands will be permanently lost by the end of the century, according to a new study, and climate change is to blame

A new study has shown that up to 65% of all Balearic Islands beaches will disappear by the middle of the century. This is due to climate change.

The findings show that climate change will lead to the permanent loss of more than 50% of the beach surface, rising up to more than 80% during storm conditions

Climate change could lead to permanent losses of 50% to 50% of beaches, and storms can cause beach erosion to increase to over 80%.


Paris Agreement is an international climate agreement. It was originally signed in 2015 and has been continuously updated.

It hopes to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6ºF) ‘and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F)’.

It seems the more ambitious goal of restricting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) may be more important than ever, according to previous research which claims 25 per cent of the world could see a significant increase in drier conditions. 

There are four major goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels

To aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change

While governments recognized that the world’s emissions need to be at their peak soon, they also agreed that developing countries will have to wait longer.

The best science enables rapid reductions.

Source: European Commission 

Even in extreme climate change scenarios, sea levels will not rise to an identical extent everywhere.

Researchers predict that there will be significant differences between ocean currents or winds. 

Studies from the past predicted sea level increases of up to 26 inches around Balearic islands. This is despite the high degree of global warming. 

It’s not only the ocean levels that have an impact on beaches used for tourism.

The team responsible for this research explained that flood levels are dependent on waves and tides rather than continuous sea level rises. They can be more important indicators of future beach shape.

The researchers developed a cost-effective and precise method for modeling future floods along the coasts of Balearic Islands.

The shape of the beaches, their slopes, and the amount of seagrass meadows were all considered. 

‘A detailed analysis of the evolution of each beach in the Balearic archipelago is very demanding on computer power,’ Agulles told Frontiers. 

“We therefore have invested considerable effort in this study to create methodologies for analysis and optimise computations.

It’s not all bad news. Extreme events are less common than they were previously believed.

They predict that wave heights could be six inches lower than current maxima of 13ft. 

Agulles and his colleagues caution that there may still be “devastating inroads along the coast”, which could lead to a decrease in beaches.

According to them, this is mainly because of the rise in sea levels. At least 56% of the beaches are permanently under water.

They were able to forecast the future total water levels by combining this with regional projections for sea level and wave change over the next 100 year.

Their new model was then applied to 869 beaches on the Balearic Islands. They also looked at the future and what the most likely outcomes would be. 

According to the worst climate change scenario, 66% of the beaches in the world will flood and be lost to the ocean by the year 2000. 

It is an average loss, however it can increase to 86% if there are severe storms. 

While the impact of the climate crisis on coastal areas has been widely studied, this is the first to show the impact specifically on popular tourist spots in the Balearics

Although the effects of climate change on coasts has been extensively studied, the Balearics are the first time that this effect was specifically shown on tourist destinations in Balearics.

72 out of 869 beaches in the area would go away forever, with 314 being completely submerged during hurricane episodes. 

A moderate scenario would see 37 beaches disappear permanently, while 254 beaches disappear during severe storms. 

The average loss of beach-surface area over the next century in both these cases could still exceed 50% and even surpass 80 percent. 

In total, 72 of the 869 beaches of the region would permanently disappear while 314 would be completely flooded during storm episodes

72 out of 869 beaches in the area would vanish forever, while 314 would become completely submerged during storm events.

Co-author Dr Gabriel Jordà said the results show climate change is a serious threat to tourism in the islands, and beaches will be seriously impacted.

He advised that both national and local governments make plans to reduce the storm’s impact by conserving seagrass, which acts as a natural barrier against severe storms.

“These projections suggest that adaptation plans should be made for beaches as soon as possible.

These findings were published in Frontiers in Marine Science. 


Scientists have predicted that global sea levels will rise by as much as 1.2m (4ft) by 2300, even if the climate goals of 2015 Paris are met.

Long-term climate change is driven by melting ice in Antarctica and Greenland, which will redraw the global coastlines.

Sea level rise is threatening cities in Shanghai, London, Florida, Bangladesh and entire countries like the Maldives.

In a recent report, researchers from Germany said that it was crucial that emissions are reduced as quickly as possible in order to stop an increase.

According to the report, sea levels will rise by between 0.7 and 1.2 meters in 2300, even though almost 200 nations have achieved the Paris Agreement’s goals.

These accords have as their goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions net zero by 2025.

It said that ocean levels will continue to rise because of heat-trapping industrial gases already released. This will melt more ice and cause the air to become warmer.

In addition, water naturally expands as it warms above four degrees Celsius (39.2°F).

If global peaking emissions are delayed beyond 2020, each five-year delay would lead to an additional 20cm (8in) increase in sea level by 2300.

Lead author, Dr Matthias Mengel of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam (Germany), stated that sea level is sometimes portrayed as slow and impractical. However, the next 30 year really matters.

Nearly 200 of the countries that signed the Paris Accords have failed to fulfill their pledges.