Climate change hotspots
North America, Europe and Asia can generally expect more severe heat waves and droughts alongside more intense storms related to flooding, said Michael Wehner, a climate scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. On the other hand, cold snaps could become less severe.
Other regions could see even more radical changes in their normal climates.
"Central America, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean are projected to experience what is now considered drought as a new normal condition," Wehner told InnovationNewsDaily. "The impacts on agriculture could be severe, especially on impoverished nations."
The melting Arctic is experiencing some of the greatest warming — often with devastating consequences for local wildlife and people — but climate change's greatest impact may take place in more densely populated regions.
"Strongly negative impacts of climate change are predicted in Central America, central South America, the Arabian Peninsula, Southeast Asia and much of Africa,"...
...the vulnerable regions identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — the Arctic, Africa, small islands (such as the Maldives and Kiribati), and the Asian and African megadeltas where huge cities filled with millions of people face rising seas, storm surges and flooding rivers.
Countries in the danger zone
So what countries face the greatest danger from climate change? Maplecroft, a British consultancy, has created a "Climate Change and Environment Risk Atlas," a list of 193 countries ranked by those most vulnerable to climate change because of factors such as population density or state of development.
The 2012 edition of the risk atlas identified 30 countries as being at extreme risk. The top 10 most at risk include: Haiti, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Cambodia, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and the Philippines.
Some countries with lower risk ratings still have danger zones that face "extreme risk" from climate change. Maplecroft pointed to the southwest of Brazil and China's coastal regions as examples, even though both countries rate as "medium risk" overall. Six of the world's fastest-growing cities also received "extreme risk" ratings: Calcutta in India, Manila in the Philippines, Jakarta in Indonesia, Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh, and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
That was an interesting article - I learning something. Learning is always fun!
A new study rating the vulnerability of major coastal cities to climate change disaster found Shanghai the most vulnerable.
Shanghai, the largest city in China and one of the largest in the world, has been named as the most vulnerable city to major coastal flooding in a new study.
In the study, published by the journal Natural Hazards, Shanghai beat out the likes of Manila—said to be sinking at a yearly rate—and Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh and a much more impoverished city. Shanghai is a major financial center and is sometimes called China’s commercial hub, with the busiest container port in the world.
“Of the nine cities examined, Shanghai, in China, is most vulnerable to coastal floods overall,” the study reads, adding that it is highly “exposed to hydrogeological factors such as storm surge and sea-level rise” while it has a “ high length of coastline and high value of river discharge.”
In the study, researchers from the Netherlands and the University of Leeds, England, used new methods to calculate flood vulnerability, not just the likelihood of a “once in a hundred years’ flood.” They also factored in social and economic aspects.
“Vulnerability is a complex issue,” Leeds professor Nigel Wright, who led the study, said in a press release. “It is not just about your exposure to flooding, but the effect it actually has on communities and business and how much a major flood disrupts economic activity.”
“Our index looks at how cities are prepared for the worst–for example, do they have flood defenses, do they have buildings that are easy to clean up and repair after the flood? It is important to know how quickly a city can recover from a major flood.”
Shanghai, the study found, is especially poorly prepared against strong storm surges as sea levels rise. Meanwhile, a large number of people live along the coast there in areas subject to flooding.
“A one-in-100 year flood in Shanghai would lead to widespread damage, with serious consequences for the city, across China and, through wider economic links, for the whole world,” Wright said. [emphasis mine]
When I was in Hong Kong, I went to a community development housing project where city officials were trying to get housing and sanitation for boat people. Sitting on the dock, talking with local officials and participants I witnessed buckets of human excrement being tossed over the side of the boats and buckets of water being pulled up for drinking, cooking, bathing, and laundry. I also saw children diving into the fecal covered water to swim. Sanitation for health and safety was a part of the planning being done. I wonder how many die from dysentery before it all gets cleaned up?
These countries most at risk, Haiti, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Cambodia, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and the Philippines, all have political histories that could curl toenails. Corruption, domination, exploitation, manipulation have all played their part in making these countries weak in spirit and substance. Now they face further challenges that seem overwhelming to the average person.
The world's fastest growing cities, Calcutta in India, Manila in the Philippines, Jakarta in Indonesia, Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh, and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, all have overpopulation problems with overcrowding and threat from diseases caused by lack of sanitation and inadequate potable water. In these cases, the church should be held accountable for their attempts to prevent family planning, contraceptive use and protection from AIDS with condoms.
There is no reason these huge problems cannot be managed, with proper planning and execution of community development, paying attention to what is, not what some dogma claims, there should be solutions. Corruption, out of control, leads no where.
Florida is at risk too, especially Southeast Florida. Florida's political history has its share of corruption, domination, exploitation and manipulation too. However rising water spares no one, not even the pure of heart.
Sea level has already risen about 8 inches along Florida’s coast and is having profound effects,... “Because Florida is so densely populated,... it is estimated 40 percent of the population and housing units at risk from sea level rise in the nation are here, in the state of Florida.”
“Sea level rise is causing the biggest problems in southern Florida, particularly in the southeast where communities are essentially at sea level and porous limestone allows sea water to penetrate inland,”...
Climate change may pose a much more serious threat to the world's poor than existing research has suggested because of spikes in food prices as extreme weather becomes more common, Oxfam said on Wednesday.
More frequent extreme weather events will create shortages, destabilise markets and precipitate price spikes on top of projected structural price rises of about 100 percent for staples such as maize over the next 20 years, the charity said in a report.
Droughts in the U.S. Midwest and Russia this year have helped to propel prices for maize and soybeans to record highs and United Nations food agencies this week said that world leaders must take swift action to ensure that food-price shocks do not turn into a catastrophe that could hurt tens of millions of people.
"For vulnerable people, sudden and extreme price hikes can be more devastating than gradual long-term rises to which they may have more chance of adjusting," Oxfam said in a report.
Oxfam added that existing research, which considers the gradual effects of climate change but not extreme weather, significantly underestimates the implications of changing weather patterns. [emphasis mine]
Vulnerable islands such as Kivalina in the Arctic and Tuvalu in the Pacific may have to evacuate within a decade due to sea level rise.
Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, said the latest evidence shows that models have underestimated the speed at which the Greenland and west Antarctic ice sheets will start to shrink.
Mann ... said it had been expected that island nations would have several decades to adapt to rising sea levels, but that evacuation may now be their only option.
"The models have typically predicted that will not happen for decades but the measurements that are coming in tell us it is already happening so once again we are decades ahead of schedule.
"Island nations that have considered the possibility of evacuation at some point, like Tuvalu, may have to be contending those sort of decisions within the matter of a decade or so."
Mann says the Pacific islands, which are only 4.6 metres above sea level at their highest point, are facing the imminent prospect of flooding, with salt water intrusion destroying fresh water supplies and increased erosion.
... Arctic's Kivalina, another low lying island which is already feeling the detrimental impacts of sea level rise." [emphasis mine]
A closer look at island nations on the front line.
In 2003, Saufatu Sopoanga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, told the United Nations General Assembly: "...
The threat is real and serious, and is of no difference to a slow and insidious form of terrorism against us."
"Tortillas on the Roaster" exposes the risks of climate change to the cultivation of maize and beans -- the two most-important food crops in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The report makes clear that in this area where it is already tough to make a living, it could get a lot tougher for a lot of people as higher temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns threaten the livelihoods of as many as a million maize and bean farmers.
Crucially for maize, the biggest losses will occur where there is already severe soil degradation, such as in parts of Honduras and throughout El Salvador, which could see production slump by about one-third in the next 10 years. Meanwhile, higher temperatures could extend the region's dry season, increasing the severity of the so-called "canicula," a dry spell which starts in July, clashing with a crucial stage in the maize production cycle.
For beans, there is a serious threat of reduced rains during the planting season in September, with higher temperatures affecting flowering and seed production, which could reduce yields in all four countries by as much as 25 percent. Meanwhile, the typically wet months of October and November are likely to see even more severe downpours, similar to those that destroyed crops and infrastructure in 2011. The report estimates maize and bean production losses at about USD $20 million per year by 2020...
I may have mentioned this before, but when I grew corn in central Texas, I could not get a decent ear of corn without using Seven, now restricted. In the above photo, you can see disease and pest damage to part of an ear. My untreated corn would not produce a healthy corn ear.
For those countries vulnerable to climate change and rising water levels, and the high incidence rate of hunger in those countries, they have a real tragedy coming. I do hope the use of food products for fuel ends and food distribution plans begin, now.
Use link above for the full size map.
Map of the countries most as risk of "famine and societal unrest stemming from food shortages and price fluctuations".
Excellent material. Thank you. I've reposted with attribution.