Climate change impacts in Brazil

Climate change impacts in Brazil - what the IPCC 4th Assessment Report has found:
  • In northeast Brazil semi-arid and arid areas will suffer a decrease of water resources due to climate change [3.4, 3.7]. Semi- arid vegetation is likely to be replaced by arid-land vegetation. In tropical forests, species extinctions are likely [13.4]
  • Computed groundwater recharge decreases dramatically by more than 70% in north-eastern Brazil (reference climate normal 1961-1990 and the 2050s) [3.4.2.].
  • Increases in rainfall in southeast Brazil have had impacts on land use, crop yields and have increased flood frequency and intensity [TS4.2].
  • In the future, sea level rise, weather and climatic variability and extremes modified by global warming are very likely to have impacts on mangroves [13.4.4].
  • 38-45% of the plants in the Cerrado (Central Brazil savannas) committed to extinction with temperature increase of 1.7°C above pre- industrial levels[Table 4.1].

Amazonia:

  • Highly unusual extreme weather events were reported, such as Amazon drought in 2005 [TS4.2].
  • Potential increases in drought conditions have been quantitatively projected during the critical growing phase, due to increasing summer temperatures and precipitation declines [4.4.5]
  • In non-fragmented Amazon forests, direct effects of CO2 on photosynthesis, as well as faster forest turnover rates, may have caused a substantial increase in density of lianas over the last 2 decades [1.3.5.5].
  • Conversion of natural vegetation to agricultural land drives climate change by altering regional albedo and latent heat flux, causing additional summer warming in key regions in Amazon region [4.4.1]
  • Major loss of Amazon rainforest with large losses of biodiversity with 2.0-3.0°C above pre-industrial levels[Table 4.1]
  • Increases in temperature and decreases in soil water would lead to replacement of tropical forest by savanna in eastern Amazonia. [13.4]
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Juan PRATGINESTOS
Typical lowland area of Cerrado landscape
© WWF-Canon / Juan PRATGINESTOS

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WWF work

What WWF is doing on the ground in Brazil to protect against climate change:
The indigenous population has their own ecological knowledge based on centuries surviving in natural habitats like rainforests. Often this kind of traditional knowledge includes weather prediction.

  • WWF is currently setting up an initial Climate Witness project in Boca do Acre, Amazonas State, Brazil to leverage such ´traditional knowledge´.
  • WWF will work with several local communites to help them develop adaptation strategies.
  • The lessons learned from this first project will be expanded throughout the region, based on partnerships with community groups, NGOs and local and regional authorities.

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