A new study from the University of Aveiro has predicted a “very worrying scenario” for the Iberian Peninsula – an increase of maximum temperatures which could have a devastating impact on virtually all sectors of society.
In just a few decades, Portugal and Spain could face summers with average temperatures of over 40ºC. In Portugal, the most affected regions would be those which already suffer the worst of the country’s wildfires – the inland and central regions, the Algarve and the Alentejo.
In fact, researchers say that both countries will “roast” under the rising temperatures if nothing is done to tackle climate change.
While David Carvalho – the leading scientist behind the study – admits that some readers may be shocked by the choice of words, he says that they are necessary.
“Sometimes society needs to be shaken up in order to change habits once and for all, before it is too late,” he told Diário de Notícias.
Carvalho says the only way to stop this “galloping increase” in temperatures is to urgently reduce greenhouse emissions.
According to the researchers’ findings, certain regions could see their average maximum temperatures increase by a whopping 4ºC to 5ºC by 2100.
The worst of the rising temperatures is expected to be felt in Spain, although the “implications of these temperature increases” could still be “huge” in Portugal.
Said the scientist, maximum temperatures could top 40ºC at least 50 days per year.
Furthermore, the forecast is for maximum temperatures to increase at a faster rate than average temperatures while minimum temperatures will increase the least.
No matter how you look at it, the bottom line seems to be that the Iberian Peninsula is heading in the wrong direction unless something is done very soon.
“Increases of two to three degrees Celsius in terms of average maximum and minimum temperatures are enough to have an impact on vital areas such as agriculture, wild fires, droughts, desertification and people’s health and wellbeing,” said Carvalho.
And the solution is clear: we must “urgently reduce” greenhouse emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane emissions which the scientist says are “the main causes of the temperature increases we are already witnessing, and which will only intensify in the coming decades”.
“The only way forward is to use less energy and resources while at the same time generating the energy we need without emitting greenhouse gases,” he said.