Climate projections

What are the climate projections depicted by the greenhouse gas emission scenarios for the middle of the century and what impacts will they have on the Ebro Delta? We update the information from the document Escenaris climàtics regionalitzats a Catalunya (ESCAT-2020) prepared in September 2020 by the Meteorological Service of Catalonia on behalf of the Catalan Office for Climate Change.

The main conclusions regarding Temperature and Precipitation in the year 2050 in comparison to average climate date from 1971-2000 are the following:

  • The average annual temperature will increase by up to 3 °C in the most pessimistic emissions scenario.
  • The increase in Maximum T is greater than Minimum T.
  • The biggest increases in temperature are in autumn (longer summer-like conditions) and in summer.
  • There is also an increase in the number of hot and warm days, while the number of frost-days is reduced. In fact, along the coast, frosts will disappear all together.
  • The change in total annual precipitation is uncertain, according to the most pessimistic emissions scenario, there will be less.
  • Very significant decrease in rain during the summer, between 18% and 26% less.
  • Overall, the number of days of light precipitation will be considerably reduced, while in the Terres de l’Ebre region, there will be an increase in the number of days with more than 50 mm precipitation.
  • Droughts will be much more intense, especially in the coastal and pre-coastal areas.

Undoubtedly, these projections confirm the Mediterranean region, and especially southern Europe, as a hot spot.

The results of these projections show a further reduction in water flow throughout the Ebro basin, and consequently, in the Delta.

Thus, for 2040 there is an estimated 5% decrease in contribution from 1980-2006, which would amount to some 13,890 hm3/year. In the event that they build the new irrigation systems and large dams planned in the current Water Plan, the increased need for water for agricultural use will lead to additional conflicts with other water needs or uses. Environmental uses and, more specifically, the stability of the Delta in all aspects that depend on the hydrological and sedimentary cycle are especially sensitive: sediment transport and containing the sea wedge, the balance of the coastline, the availability of water for irrigation, maintaining environmental balance in the broadest sense and, obviously, the socioeconomic dynamic related to the river flow will be even more fragile.

Sea level rise

With regard to sea level rise, and in accordance with the work carried out between the OCCC and the ICGC on the flooding of the Delta at the turn of the century, the projections have been taken from the Special Report on the ocean and the cryosphere in a changing climate published by the IPCC in autumn 2019. According to this report, the projections of average sea level rise (meters) for the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios, and for the time horizons 2030, 2050, 2080 and 2100 are (results expressed in centimeters):

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Temporal horizon RCP 4.5 RCP 8.5
0.18 (0.13-0.23)
0.20 (0.15-0.26)
0.26 (0.19-0.34)
0.32 (0.23-0.40)
0.49 (0.34-0.64)
0.71 (0.51-0.92)
0.55 (0.39-0.72)
0.84 (0.60-1.10)

The Secretariat for the Environment and Sustainability, in collaboration with the Platform for the Defense of the Ebro river, is promoting this exhibition which aims to show the impact of climate change on the evolution of one of the richest in biodiversity and, at the same time, most vulnerable deltaic systems in Europe: The Ebro Delta.

Curated by:

Secretaria de Medi Ambient
i Sostenibilitat

Conceptual design and content coordination:

In collaboration with:

Design and production: