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Fires, floods and disappearing beaches: can Mediterranean holidays survive?

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Shortly after Easter this year, in the midst of a historic, multi-year drought, temperatures in parts of the western Mediterranean climbed a barely believable 20C higher than seasonal norms, hitting a record-shattering 39C in southern Spain.

And that was in April.

As global heating advances, July and August in the world’s most-visited holiday destination – pre-Covid, more than 300 million tourists a year headed to the Med, a figure some predict could rise to 500 million by the end of the decade – risk becoming unbearable.

The Mediterranean basin is a global heating hotspot. While the world is now about 1.1C warmer than it was in the 1970s, the region is already up 1.5C and on course for 3C by the end of the century (or 5C, in a worst-case scenario). Rising temperatures and more frequent heatwaves are not the only challenge. Most climate models agree that in most parts of the world, warmer will also mean wetter – but not in the Med, where rainfall is set to plunge by between 10% and 60%.

When it does fall, experts predict the rain will be more likely to come in the form of…

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