Seville to become as hot as Tucson by end of century: study

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Seville in southwestern Spain could become as hot as Tucson in the Arizona desert in the United States by the end of the century, according to a study by the Spain's national weather office Aemet published Wednesday.

According to its projections, average maximum daily temperatures in Spain will be between three to six degrees Celsius (five to nine degrees Fahrenheit) higher between 2071-2100 when compared to what was recorded between 1961-1990.

"If the temperatures rise by six degrees Celsius, Madrid will have the climate that Seville has now has while Seville's climate will be similar to that of Tuscson," Aemet president Ricardo Garcia Herrera told a news conference.

The study also predicts that precipitation levels will remain stable in Spain up until 2050 but will then decline by 15-30 percent between 2090-2100 when compared to the levels recorded between 1961-1990.

Spain's secretary of state for climate change, Teresa Ribera, said "the effects on ecosystems will be enormous."

"In agriculture, for example, we will have to use species that are adapted to the heat and that have less need for water, but there will be sectors in which it will not be possible to adapt, such as ski stations," she added.

Climate change has already forced some grape growers in Spain to shade vineyards, develop heat-resistant crops and move to cooler mountainside locations in what is one of Europe's largest grape-growing nations.

It has also caused glaciers in the Pyrenees to shrink and wetlands and lagoons to be destroyed, according to environmental groups like Greenpeace.

Desertification is already threatening one-third of the land mass of Spain, Europe's most arid country, according to experts.

© 2010 AFP

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