Torrential rain and winds slam Southern Brazil
Southern Brazil has been hit by torrential rain and winds caused by a cyclone, leading the governor of one of the most impacted areas, Rio Grande do Sul, to call it the state’s worst-ever weather disaster. More than 300 mm of rain hit Rio Grande do Sul in less than 24 hours. This triggered floods and landslides, with more flooding being expected in the next days. So far, thousands have been forced to leave their homes, at least 21 people have died and there are still people missing. The little town, Mucum, with 5,000 inhabitants, has been hit especially hard with over 85% of the town being flooded and multiple people found dead.
While many factors contribute to this flooding, a warming atmosphere as a result of climate change makes heavy rainfall events more frequent. Although it is far away, Arctic warming can also increase temperatures globally, which can impact global atmospheric systems, including patterns of moisture. When these moisture-rich air masses interact with other weather systems, such as cold fronts or low-pressure systems, it can result in more significant and prolonged rainfall events.
Drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is needed to mitigate climate change, including a rapidly warming Arctic with global consequences. Such action can help prevent or lessen the severity of extreme weather events, protecting vulnerable communities like those affected by the recent disaster in Brazil.
Do you want to know more about the Artic’s influence on South America? Read more here.