News

ECLAC Report Examines Climate Change Impacts on Latin America and Caribbean Coasts

December 2011: The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has published a report that examines current and future trends in climate variability and their likely impacts on the region's extensive coastline.

The report, prepared by the Environmental Hydraulics Institute of the University of Cantabria, Spain, analyzes and provides an atlas of the current physical conditions and changes detected in key coastal variables in 44,851 miles of LAC coastline, such as average sea level, surface temperature of the sea, salinity, swells, astronomical tides, air temperature anomalies, wind changes and hurricanes. The report further looks at how these variables might be affected by 2040, 2050 and 2070.

The analysis divides results into four basic geographic areas: North America; Central America; South America; and Caribbean islands. Where possible, the report tries to identify subregional differences in the variables. For example, it notes that the fastest sea level rise (three centimeters per year) is in Northern Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia's Caribbean coast and some Caribbean islands, and the slowest in Ecuador.

The report is the first in a series of four, which are planned to be released in 2012 as part of an ECLAC project on climate change and LAC coastal regions financed by the Government of Spain. The second will look in greater detail at the vulnerability and exposure to climate change of LAC coasts, the third will detail probable climate change impacts, and the fourth will evaluate the climate change risks faced by LAC coasts. ECLAC also plans to release support documents on the theories and methodology used to project climate change impacts on LAC's coastal regions and analyze their risks. [ECLAC Press Release] [Publication: Climate Change Impacts in the Latin American and Caribbean Coastal Regions: Changes, Trends and Climate Variability (in Spanish)]