Climate change in the Mediterranean

Floods in Rincón de la Victoria (Málaga, Spain) in 2004

The critical factors that will constrain the conservation of natural resources can be multiple and varied depending on the geographical, economic and social scale we use to describe them. In the Mediterranean demographical trends and climate change scenarios can be identified as two overarching drivers which will continue to strongly influence the status of biodiversity in the region.

The last report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPPC, 2013) highlights the Mediterranean as one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to the impacts of global warming. The models issued by IPCC cast different scenarios for the Region, but all of them agreed on a clear trend in the pattern of some climatic parameters. In terms of the thermal regime, the base scenario from 1980-2000 was used to estimate an increase in average surface temperatures in the range of 2.2 and 5.1 °C for the period 2080-2100. For the same period, the models indicate pronounced rainfall regime changes in the Mediterranean, and estimate that precipitation over lands might vary between -4% and -27%.

Very few studies on the consequences that climate change could produce on species distribution and habitat features and ecosystems structure indicates that a serious alteration of biological and ecological patterns in both marine and terrestrial biomes is already taking place and generating mostly negative rather than positive impacts.

The IUCN Centre Mediterranean Cooperation have been working on scientific tools to anticipate and monitor those changes and help to generate reliable knowledge, and is currently participating in regional projects on adaptation and mitigation.


This project aims to mitigate the negative effect of climate change on key ecosystem services that three iconic and representative Mediterranean natural protected areas in Andalucia provide to local inhabitants and their socioeconomic sector. More info here.

  • LIFE Blue Natura

This project represents an ambitious and innovative initiative to quantify  blue carbon and protect coastal habitats in Andalusia. More infor here.

  • SEARCH project in Morocco

Key initiatives in this area have focused on adaptation to climate change through participation in the Social, Ecological & Agricultural Resilience in the Face of Climate Change (SEARCH) project in collaboration with IUCN ROWA office, particularly concerning the case study in Morocco. The SEARCH team came up with a 2020 vision identifying two pillars: the improvement of the living conditions of the population by building and improving the infrastructure (roads, electricity, water…) and providing access to basic social services and various economic activities. Further info: here.

Links to publication:

Approche et actions pour la résilience au changement climatique: Projet SEARCH



  • MedMIS

The expansion of invasive species across Mediterranean marine protected areas is also related to climate change and being monitored through the MedMIS initiative which has launched a new application for smart phones and an online tool to help managers of marine protected areas (MPAs) control the spread of invasive species in the Mediterranean Sea.

Link to Medmis: here            

  • Other related publications:

Les aires marines protégées (AMP) méditerranéennes et le changement climatique

Les herbiers de Magnoliophytes marines de Méditerranée : résilience et contribution à l’atténuation des changements climatiques

Las praderas de Magnoliofitas marinas del mar Mediterráneo: resiliencia y contribución a la mitigación del cambio climático 

La Méditerranée: un environnement marin côtier en mutation selon les scénarios sur l’évolution du climat 

Mediterranean marine protected areas and climate change: a guide to regional monitoring and adaptation opportunities

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