Projections of the climate potential for tourism at local scales: application to Platja de Palma, Spain

Authors

  • A. Amengual,

    Corresponding author
    1. Grup de Meteorologia, Departament de Física, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
    2. Departament de Recerca en Canvi Global, Institut Mediterrani d'Estudis Avançats, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
    • Dept. de Física, Universitat de les Illes Balears, 07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
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  • V. Homar,

    1. Grup de Meteorologia, Departament de Física, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
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  • R. Romero,

    1. Grup de Meteorologia, Departament de Física, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
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  • S. Alonso,

    1. Grup de Meteorologia, Departament de Física, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
    2. Departament de Recerca en Canvi Global, Institut Mediterrani d'Estudis Avançats, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
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  • C. Ramis

    1. Grup de Meteorologia, Departament de Física, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
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Abstract

Primary socioeconomic activities in the System of Platja de Palma (SPdP), located in the southwestern coast of Mallorca, Spain, are beach-based holidays and, therefore, are very closely linked to climate. The social, economic and environmental adaptation that this region must make in the mid- and long-term period has to take into account the changes in the tourist potential when the climate changes. A second-generation climate index for tourism (CIT) has been adopted to measure tourism potential under the present and possible future climatic conditions. CIT is a theoretically based and empirically derived index that allows assessing the sun, sea and sand (3S) weather resource. Daily observed series of 2 m maximum temperature, precipitation, 2 m relative humidity, cloud cover and 10 m wind speed have been used to derive the present climate potential for tourism. For future projections, daily averaged meteorological variables have been obtained from a set of regional climate models (RCMs) within the European ENSEMBLES project. The adoption of a multimodel ensemble strategy allows quantifying the uncertainties arising from model errors and boundary conditions. To use CIT values based on RCM data properly at local scales, a quantile–quantile adjustment has been applied. Results show a significant increase in the annual frequency of days with acceptable conditions together with a slightly increment for the ideal climate perceptions at the expense of decreasing unacceptable categories. For the summery peak season, ideal conditions are projected to decrease from mid-century favouring acceptable categories. However, an almost general increase for both classes is anticipated in spring and autumn throughout the century. That is, higher frequencies of optimal climate perceptions for carrying out 3S outdoors activities are expected to shift from the peak to shoulder seasons. Therefore, climate change would result in a major impact for the current seasonally adjusted service sector in SPdP. With this information at hand, policy makers and the team of experts planning its socioeconomic future can respond more effectively to the demanding challenge of local adaptation to climate change by implementing adaptation and mitigation strategies to the tourist sector. Copyright © 2011 Royal Meteorological Society

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