Monday, January 24

The hottest spots in America with climate change | Climate and Environment


A man with a hose tries to hydrate the field, on a ranch in California (United States).
A man with a hose tries to hydrate the field, on a ranch in California (United States).Luis Sinco (Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag)

That the world is warming is a reality proven by climate science. The acceleration of that process in the last four decades is also common. But not the entire globe is seeing its temperatures rise at the same rate: in the American continent, the north has seen a greater increase than the south; rich countries, more than middle-income ones; and the coasts, particularly the Atlantic, more than the interior. Although some of those trends may change.

Compared to the 1950 to 1980 average, temperatures in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean have increased by almost 1.2 degrees Celsius. About four-fifths of the increase took place in just one decade: the 1990s. It was that of the definitive awareness of global warming, with the hole in the ozone layer (today in decline) and the ‘greenhouse effect’ as protagonists. But a gradual change in consumption patterns, especially energy, facilitated by access to better technologies and the presence of new regulatory mechanisms, as well as international treaties and protocols, has slowed down (although without slowing it down) the rise in the 21st century, when South America has taken over: from 2003 to 2015, the increase has been as great as in the previous 25 years. The speed of the temperature rise has doubled.

Even so, North America, the United States and especially Canada accumulate the highest increases in average temperature since the 1960s, at a considerable distance from the rest of the countries. It is no coincidence that they are the two nations with the highest degree of economic development on the continent: fossil fuels have been essential to consolidate growth and well-being, and this is the result.

In the same way, they continue to be so today, especially for those countries that aspire to join the club of the highest income. These nations tend to see as a certain redistributive imbalance the fact that it is precisely now that they seek to implement transnational limits on emissions: when they are no longer so necessary for those who have relied on them to achieve growth goals. Despite the fact that the Paris commitment already incorporated compensation mechanisms to rebalance opportunities, the specification of its implementation during the Glasgow climate summit keeps the conversation open about the weight that each country must assume to stop warming. In the American continent, the political derivatives of this gap are expressed with particular clarity in the case of large countries that, such as Mexico or Brazil, require more financing with a transactional approach.

But the biggest division that can be seen is still geographic: the Andean countries, regardless of their income level, are the ones that have suffered the most modest increases. La Paz (Bolivia), the highest capital of the continent, rises +0.64 degrees. At similar levels are Puno or Cusco, in mountainous Peru. But it is enough to go up a little to the north, approach a more temperate or directly warm environment, so that the figures are multiplied by two: this is the case of cities such as Medellín (Colombia), Guayaquil (Ecuador) or practically all the capitals Central America.

In fact, the coastal exposure, especially in the temperate fringes, and more strongly on its eastern slope (the coasts towards the Atlantic), determines stronger rises in temperature. Thus, the entire New England urban waterfront, from Edison to Boston, has seen increases of +2.8 degrees in the last sixty years. Less than Halifax, a little further north past the Canadian border (+3.08 degrees), Anchorage (capital of Alaska: +3.05 degrees), or Winnipeg, in the Canadian province of Manitoba, which is the city of everything the continent that has suffered the greatest increase (+3.41 degrees).

As does the location in areas with drier climates or, directly, desert. The Mexican-American border (Phoenix, Arizona: +2.5 degrees; Reynosa, Tamaulipas: +2.35) provides a good example. Also Brazil, where the semi-arid zone and the northeastern savannah bear the most notable impacts: the localities of Juàzeiro or Timon have seen increases that exceed 30% of those observed in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.

The zoom In Brazil, going down to the level of specific meteorological stations, it draws the general pattern more clearly, but there also appear more or less dark points than expected in certain areas, highlighting the innate variability in the measurements of a data such as the flush temperature. of soil.

Inevitably, the more we focus on a particular location, the more likely it is that we will find data that does not appear consistent with the warming trend. But these specific deviations do not invalidate the global trend, which is reflected in the statistical means. They only express the inevitable peculiarities of a global phenomenon.

Methodology and sources. All data comes from the project Berkeley Earth, which compiles systematically and with internal quality controls the temperature reports from meteorological stations around the world.

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