The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), prepared by 234 authors from 66 countries, leaves no room for doubt: climate change is happening and it is unequivocally caused by human activity.
After evaluating its impact on different variables, such as temperatures, rainfall, and its relation to extreme phenomena, such as droughts, fires, or the rise in sea level under different scenarios, scientists have stated that all regions of the planet are being affected.
One of the hot spots at a global level is the Mediterranean, where the effects are manifesting more clearly and with greater certainty, especially due to the increase in heat waves and a decrease in the water available in the soil for agriculture, among other effects.
Researcher Francisco Doblas-Reyes, the director of Earth Sciences at the National Supercomputing Center who participated in the preparation of the report, said there would also be a rise in sea level that will impact agriculture in coastal areas for centuries or millennia, based on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere.
According to Doblas-Reyes, society should choose what scenario it wants to face at the end of the century to know which damages it is willing to accept and which it isn't.
Depending on what we strive for, we can limit the level of warming by reducing emissions to a higher or lower degree. However, decreasing emissions is unavoidable and it has to be done quickly, on a large scale, and in a sustained manner, Doblas-Reyes stated.
In parallel, humanity will have to make efforts to adapt to changes, knowing that the most appropriate strategy will also depend on the evolution of emissions, must be affordable, and must meet the needs of each vulnerable sector, such as Agriculture, he added.
Scientists expect that the rainfall in the Mediterranean will decrease and that, as temperatures rise, evapotranspiration will increase (the loss of moisture from a surface due to direct evaporation together with water moisture due to transpiration of plants), which will reduce the available water for agriculture. "Spain should make an effort to plan the use of water to ensure agricultural yields. It would be better if we forgot about absurd irrigation and use that water for rainfed crops that will need supplementary irrigation,” Sanchez stated.
In addition, he stressed that they would also have to implement other measures, such as crop substitution, with varieties that are better adapted to the heat and climate, and even advance sowing dates to avoid the worst effects of the heat waves.