Whether they're playgrounds for the rich and famous or havens for retirees, the world's best beach resorts may disappear despite efforts to protect them against sea level rise.
That's the prediction of coastal expert Andrew Cooper, a professor at the University of Ulster in Ireland, who said that the usual way of replenishing a beach, by adding sand to it, will not keep up with the sea's rapid rise.
"A key attractor in most of the world's examples of coastal resort cities has been the presence of an adjacent beach," Cooper said in a statement. "Some well-known examples are Benidorm, Torremolinos (Spain); Cannes (France); West Palm Beach, Fla.; Atlantic City, N.J, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Virginia Beach, Va.; Cancun (Mexico); and the most rapidly developed of all coastal resort cities, Dubai (United Arab Emirates). In all of these resorts the challenge is to preserve the real estate behind the beach and still save the beaches, which are being pushed landwards by rising sea level."
Cooper said most resorts combat ongoing sea level rise with beach nourishment - adding sand to replace that eroded by the encroaching ocean. But holding the world's best beaches stationary during an expected 3-foot (1 meter) sea level rise in the next 100 years would require massive inputs of sand, Cooper said.