Droughts and floods hit the entire planet in 2021
The study also revealed that around 3.6 billion people have "inadequate" access to fresh water for at least one month a year
All regions of the world suffered extreme phenomena in their rainy cycles last year, in the form of floods and droughts, while the Río de la Plata area in South America is one of the most affected with a “persistent drought” since 2019, according to a report by the United Nations (UN) published on Tuesday.
Droughts and floods
The study also revealed that around 3.6 billion people have “inadequate” access to fresh water for at least one month a year, a figure that could exceed 5 billion by 2050. The data comes from the first annual report on water resources at a global level carried out by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a United Nations agency.
“The impacts of climate change are often manifested through water, with more intense and frequent droughts, more extreme floods, more irregular seasonal rainfall and the acceleration of glacial melting, and have cascading effects on economies, ecosystems and all aspects of our daily lives,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said, the AFP news agency reported.
Land area with below-average river flow
Large areas of the planet had drier-than-normal weather in 2021 and, among the most affected. The reports highlighted “the area of the Río de la Plata in South America, where a persistent drought has affected the region since 2019. The south and southeast of the Amazon, and some basins in South America North, for example, those of the Colorado, Missouri and Mississippi rivers”.
Instead, “higher-than-normal river flows were observed in some basins in North America. Northern Amazonia, and southern Africa (Zambezi and Orange), as well as in China (the Amur River basin) and northern India,” the report said.
The work also analyzed the fluvial flow in various basins of the world, and compared it with the average of the hydrological period of the last 30 years. Among the main results, the UN agency highlighted that the land area with below-average river flow was twice as large as the area above the average.
He also warned that between 2001 and 2018, 74% of natural disasters had to do with water. While terrestrial water storage had negative trends that were stronger than positive ones. Surface and subsurface water storage was below the 20-year average on the West Coast of the United States. Central South America, and Patagonia, among other regions.
Faced with this situation, the UN agency urged the authorities to speed up the introduction of early warning plans to prevent droughts and floods. And lessen the impact of these extreme events.
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