Geneva, 23 July 2022 (TDI): World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report about the ongoing climate change and extreme weather conditions affecting the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region.

Worse climate impacts such as droughts, glacier melt, extreme rainfall, and deforestation hit hard the LAC region.

WMO is a specialized agency of the United States which monitors the earth systems and provides vital information on weather and climate worldwide.

Decision-makers, communities, and people can better prepare for weather and climate disasters by the early warnings provided by WMO.

WMO is committed to promoting global collaboration and coordination with regard to the state and behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interactions with land and seas, the weather and climate they create, and the subsequent distribution of water resources.

WMO State of the Climate in Latin America and the Caribbean 2021 report highlighted the wide-ranging consequences of climate change on biodiversity, food and water security, public health, and inequality.

Findings of the WMO report

The report finds out that in LAC, the temperature increased to 0.2°C between 1991 and 2021, compared to 0.1 °C between 1961 and 1990.

Peru’s glaciers lost 50% of their area and Andean glaciers lost 30% of their area due to the melting of glaciers.

Since 2009, the deforestation rate records are the highest. Chile faced a mega-drought which is considered the longest drought in the last 1,000 years. The drought in La Plata reduced crop production.

Drought conditions in South America as a whole resulted in a -2.6 percent decrease in the 2020-2021 cereal crop compared to the previous season.

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season seemed to have the third-greatest number of recognized storms on record. It was the sixth straight above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

Sea levels in the region continued to increase faster than elsewhere in the globe. In 2021, the most notable regions included South America’s Atlantic coast south of the equator and subtropical North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.

Extreme rainfall in different parts of the LAC led to floods and landslides with an estimated loss of US$ 3.1 billion.

7.7 million people faced food security crises in different regions of LAC in 2021. COVID-19 and Hurricanes impacts contributed to the food security issue.

Climate-related migration and displacement increased in the last 8 years and are more severe in northeast Brazil and the northern countries in Central America.

South America is one of the regions with the largest proven need for improved early warning systems. Multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS) are critical instruments for effective adaptation in places vulnerable to weather, flood, and weather extremes.

WMO Secretary reviewed the report

WMO General Secretary, Petteri Taalas said that hydro-meteorological hazards, including droughts, heatwaves, cold waves, tropical cyclones, and floods, have unfortunately led to the loss of hundreds of lives, severe damages to crop production and infrastructure, and human displacement.

He has further added that increasing sea-level rise and ocean warming are expected to continue to affect coastal livelihoods, tourism, health, food, energy, and water security, particularly in small islands and Central American countries.

Moreover, WMO Secretary said that in many Andean cities, melting glaciers represent the loss of a significant source of freshwater currently used for domestic use, irrigation, and hydroelectric power.

Petteri Taalas said that in South America, the continued degradation of the Amazon rainforest is still being highlighted as a major concern for the region but also for the global climate, considering the role of the forest in the carbon cycle.