How Will Climate Change Affect The Beaches In The 21st Century

belize barrier reef

A specifically troubling area of climate change is that of beaches. What will happen when the water levels rise, even as ltitle as a few feet, is disputed however obviously it will start to eat up beachfront areas around the world. Even a one foot rise in sea level could cover huge amounts of beach in certain areas of the world where the beach level is not that much higher than the current sea level.

According to, climate change may cause…

…oceans that will rise anywhere from 0.5 meters (19 inches) to 1.4 meters (55 inches)…

and goes on to say that:

…sea level rise will have different consequences in different places but that they will be profound on virtually all coastlines.

The effects of this will be devestating on certain places in the world that rely heavily on tourism. Places like the beach resorts in Cancun, Mexico¬†for example. Mexico’s tourism indistury is ranked 4th in the American’s and 43rd in the world. Losing incredibly valuable coastline in Mexico would cripple the countries tourism and cost literally billions of dollars in lost revenue for the country.

How Will It Affect The Rest Of The America’s?


Smaller countries like Belize, Costa Rica, and other Central American countries as well as South American countries, like Peru, would be heavily affected by such a change in coastline; perhaps even moreso than Mexico. Additionally, countries like Thailand would take a huge hit as a lot of their tourism is also based on their crystal-clear water and cheap cost to visit.

Outside of tourism, valauble land would be lost as well. As many as 80% of the world’s population lives on the coast line. A lot of the worlds most fertile ground is within striking distance of these rising tides as well as flooding everything from rivers to lakes and forcing the water to overrun their banks.

What Can We Do?


Water is a tricky thing – it always goes to the lowest possible point. As the oceans rise, the lowest possible point will consistently get higher and higher causing water to invade areas it currently doesn’t occupy.

In order to help combat climate change, we can take a page out of Al Gore’s book: help reduce global warming through the emissions of fossil fuels. Gasoline, and other petroleum-based products, being burned are increasingly causing the Earth’s atmosphere to heat up which in turn melts the glaciers and raises the oceans levels.

This phenomenon, called global warming, is something which can be combated by reducing our emissions and carbon footprint. More information on the subject can be found here.

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