Tenerife – An Island Under Pressure

Tenerife is certainly an island under many different types of pressure and this was evident in many forms during our week long field trip there. We experienced it’s vulnerability in the climate system first hand, as the intense sunlight and unseasonal heat (>30 C) reminded us that it is on the same latitude as the Sahara. Thankfully trade winds and cooler ocean currents from the North East usually keep the island relatively cool, whilst bringing much needed moisture to the north side. This supports the amazing laurel, brezal and pine forests, we enjoyed exploring these great habitats and also appreciating their importance in the hydrological system. Particularly with the desert conditions on the south side of the island!

Water management is one of the largest challenges that the island faces and we were expertly guided through one of the water galleria mines by our GeoTenerife expert (Heimaey). He explained how passages dug into the central mountain extracted water with minimal carbon footprint, after the footsteps of many hard working miners! The geological structure of the island dominates every day life there in many ways. Thankfully Rebecca Winstanley skillfully taught us about the many lava fields, volcanic deposits, associated hazards and more with her extensive knowledge of the island. Sadly many of the millions of tourists that visit Tenerife each year do not get the same opportunity to delve into the rich geography of such a varied island. We were lucky enough to enjoy the perspective of long term residents Ignacio, Alexi and Heimaey, who have seen the island change and evolve. There are many developments towards a more sustainable future here and we look forward to enjoy exploring more in the excellent company and hospitality of all those at GeoTenerife!

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