Friday, November 28, 2008

Brazil floods are early sign of global warming, expert warns

Earth Times, via Deutsche Agentur: The rains that devastated 30 towns in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina could be an early consequence of global warming, a climatologist from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said Friday. At least 99 people died and 80,000 had to be evacuated because of the rains and subsequent flooding. Santa Catarina was hit by a hurricane in 2004 and is frequently affected by tornadoes.

Climatologist Carlos Nobre told Globo TV that heavy, persistent rains in southern Brazil usually coincide with the climate phenomenon known as El Nino, which warms up the Pacific Ocean. However, this was not the case this year.

"In the years when the El Nino phenomenon does not happen, like now, and there are very intense rains, their causes still remain mysterious for meteorology. It is already possible to start to identify some relationship with global warming, both in the increase of intense rain and in the drought in the south," he said.

According to Nobre, southern Brazil is more vulnerable to climatic problems, as it is here that warm, humid air coming from the north converges with cold, dry masses from the south. Some experts noted that problems in southern Brazil could also be linked to deforestation in Amazonia….

The city of ItajaĆ­, Santa Catarina, shot by emarquetti from Brazil, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

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