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July 28, 2010

Seville Heating Up

Seville in southwestern Spain and Tucson, Arizona could have one thing in common by the end of this century -- the heat.

According to a study published Wednesday by Spain's national weather office Aemet, Seville could become as hot as the Arizona desert by the end of the century. The projections show that daily temperatures will be five to nine degrees higher between 2071 and 2100 when compared to records for 1961 to 1990.

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

The study also made predictions that precipitation amounts will remain stable in Spain until about 2050, and then will decline by 15 to 30 percent between 2090 - 2100 when compared to the levels recorded between 1961 and 1990.

"The effects on ecosystems will be enormous," said Spain's secretary of state for climate change, Teresa Ribera. "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 had an effect on some agricultural systems, forcing grape growers in some areas to shade vineyards, develop heat-resistant crops and move to cooler mountainside regions in what is one of Europe's largest grape-growing cultures.

It has also caused glaciers in the Pyrenees to melt at a much faster rate, and also destroying wetlands and lagoons, according to environmental groups like Greenpeace.

Nearly a third of Spain's land mass is threatened by desertification, according to experts.

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