Climate change is a top issue on the agenda for many countries. Changes in climate can have negative impacts on global ecosystems, economic activities and human health. Countries located within Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to be especially affected by climate change and variability, even though they contribute the least to global greenhouse gas emissions.
Latin America has abundant freshwater resources; however, climate change can have a significant impact on the water cycle, reducing water’s availability and quality. Climate Scenarios for Latin America, as well as the Caribbean, project increased variability in precipitation patterns and a higher frequency of extreme weather events (hurricanes, floods, droughts and landslides). The number of tropical storms in Central America alone has increased 12 fold between 2000 and 2009 as compared to the period between 1970 and 1979. The unique geographical location of these regions combined with population growth, poverty and intensified land use practices makes them extremely vulnerable to extreme climatic events.
Climate-driven impacts on freshwater resources and water-related sectors (agriculture, health, energy) have to be adequately addressed in management plans, water policy, and research through the development of effective adaptive strategies. Timely and effective adaptation strategies are an imperative response to climate related water stresses that will increase Latin America’s resilience to future impacts.
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