UN weather agency: millions affected by climate change and extreme weather in Latin America and Caribbean

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Climate-related and geophysical events resulted successful the nonaccomplishment of 312,000 lives and straight affected much than 277 cardinal radical successful Latin America and the Caribbean, a new report released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) revealed connected Tuesday.

Extreme upwind and clime alteration are threatening the full region, “from the heights of Andean peaks to low-lying islands and mighty stream basins”, the study, “State of the Climate successful Latin America and the Caribbean 2020”, states.

Increasing temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, storms and retreating glaciers person each had a profound interaction connected quality wellness and safety, food, water, vigor information and the environment.

“Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is among the regions astir challenged by utmost hydro-meteorological events,” WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said successful a connection to people the merchandise of the document.

The Chacaltaya upland  country  of Bolivia, was erstwhile  a skis  edifice   but glaciers person  melted distant  implicit    the past  decades. (file)

World Bank/Stephan Bachenheimer

The Chacaltaya upland country of Bolivia, was erstwhile a skis edifice but glaciers person melted distant implicit the past decades. (file)

‘Far-reaching and long-lasting repercussions’

Mr Taalas noted the impacts see “water and energy-related shortages, cultivation losses, displacement and compromised wellness and safety, each compounding challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Concerns astir fires and the nonaccomplishment of forests are besides raised successful the document. Almost fractional of the country of the LAC portion is covered by forests, representing astir 57 per cent of the world’s remaining superior forests and storing an estimated 104 gigatons of carbon.

“Fires and deforestation are present threatening 1 of the world’s largest c sinks, with far-reaching and long-lasting repercussions,” the WMO Secretary-General added.

Fifteen-year-old Benson Etienne and his household  escaped earlier  their location   collapsed successful  the hurricane-hit Marsh Harbour, successful  Abaco Island, Bahamas.

© UNICEF/Moreno Gonza

Fifteen-year-old Benson Etienne and his household escaped earlier their location collapsed successful the hurricane-hit Marsh Harbour, successful Abaco Island, Bahamas.

Feeling the heat

2020 was among the 3 warmest years successful Central America and the Caribbean, and the 2nd warmest twelvemonth successful South America. Maximum temperatures astatine immoderate stations showed record-breaking values with temperatures up to 10 °C supra normal.

Widespread drought crossed Latin America and the Caribbean had important impacts, including lowering rivers level, the study notes, which person hampered inland shipping routes, reduced harvest yields and nutrient production, starring to worsening nutrient insecurity successful galore areas.

Forest nonaccomplishment is an important contributor to clime alteration owed to c dioxide release, the survey warns: betwixt 2000 and 2016, astir 55 cardinal hectares of wood were lost, constituting much than 91% of wood losses worldwide.

The accrued complaint of wildfires successful 2020 caused irreversible damages to ecosystems, including adverse impacts to captious ecosystem services and livelihoods babelike connected them. While it is inactive a nett c sink, the Amazon teeters connected the borderline of becoming a nett root if wood nonaccomplishment continues astatine existent rates.

US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida, responds to the devastation successful  the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian successful  the Bahamas. (2 September 2019)

US Coast Guard Southeast

US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida, responds to the devastation successful the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian successful the Bahamas. (2 September 2019)

The rising tide

In 2020 the Caribbean oversea aboveground somesthesia deed a grounds high, and the study shows however marine life, coastal ecosystems and the quality communities that beryllium connected them are facing expanding threats from water acidification and vigor and rising oversea levels.

In Latin America and the Caribbean much than 27% of the colonisation unrecorded successful coastal areas, with an estimated 6–8% surviving successful areas that are astatine precocious oregon precise precocious hazard of being affected by coastal hazards
Glaciers person been retreating during the past decades, and crystal wide nonaccomplishment has been accelerated since 2010, successful enactment with an summation successful seasonal and yearly temperatures and a important simplification successful yearly precipitation successful the region.

Coastal and marine ecosystems supply  food, livelihoods, and coastal extortion  to much  than a cardinal  radical   worldwide.

Ocean Image Bank/Matt Curnock

Coastal and marine ecosystems supply food, livelihoods, and coastal extortion to much than a cardinal radical worldwide.

Forewarned is forearmed

Greater governmental committedness and much fiscal enactment to fortify aboriginal informing systems and operational weather, clime and hydrological services, are identified successful the report, arsenic ways to enactment hazard absorption and adaptation.  

Early informing systems tin trim catastrophe hazard and catastrophe impacts, but the WMO survey warns that they are underdeveloped successful LAC region, peculiarly successful Central and South America.

Mangroves are singled retired arsenic an exceptional assets for adaptation and mitigation, with the capableness to store 3 to 4 times much c than astir of the forests connected the planet.

However, the mangrove country successful the portion declined 20 percent betwixt 2001-2018. The conservation and restoration of existing “blue carbon” ecosystems specified arsenic mangroves, seagrass beds, and brackish marshes is identified an important accidental to mitigate and accommodate to planetary warming.

State of the Climate successful Latin America and the Caribbean 2020

  • The multi-agency study “State of the Climate successful Latin America and the Caribbean 2020”, is simply a collaboration betwixt the WMO, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).
  • It comes connected the heels of the Intergovernmental Panel connected Climate Change study connected Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, released earlier this month, which stated that temperatures successful the portion person accrued much than the planetary mean and are apt to proceed to bash so.
  • The WMO study aims to supply science-based accusation to enactment countries and communities successful their efforts to accommodate to a changing clime and physique much resilience to utmost weather.
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