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Please note that this is a collaborative website that serves to assemble the different elements of the WESR-Climate change data & information platform. The different components will be integrated later within an ad-hoc layout on the dedicated section of the UNEP-WESR website ....

Introduction

Impacts from climate change are happening now. These impacts extend well beyond an increase in temperature, affecting ecosystems and communities around the world. Things that we depend upon and value — water, energy, transportation, wildlife, agriculture, ecosystems, and human health — are experiencing the effects of a changing climate.
Climate change is referred to by leading economists as the greatest market failure in human history, with potentially disruptive implications on the social well-being, economic development, and financial stability of current and future generations: conservative estimates see unabated climate change leading to global costs equivalent to losing in-between 5 to 20% of global gross domestic product (GDP) each year, now and forever.

 -- UNEP Finance Initiative

Arctic sea ice extent

Arctic ice sea extent

The Arctic Ocean is expected to become essentially ice free in summer before mid-century. The main cause for Arctic sea ice loss are the rising ocean temperatures, reinforced by the disruption of the sea ice feedback loop: the more ice gets molten, less sunlight is reflected and more energy gets absorbed by the ocean, warming up the sea water.


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Coral Bleaching

Coral bleaching

Climate change is the greatest global threat to coral reef ecosystems.

As temperatures rise, mass coral bleaching events and disease outbreaks are becoming more frequent. Additionally, carbon dioxide absorbed into the ocean from the atmosphere has already begun to reduce calcification rates in reef-building and reef-associated organisms by altering seawater chemistry through decreases in pH. This process is called ocean acidification.

Climate change will affect coral reef ecosystems, through sea level rise, changes to the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, and altered ocean circulation patterns. When combined, all of these impacts dramatically alter ecosystem function, as well as the goods and services coral reef ecosystems provide to people around the globe (source).


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Extreme weather

Extreme weather

Climate risk is a major driver and amplifier of disaster losses and failed development. It amplifies risk. Decades-old projections about climate change have come true much sooner than we expected and at a calamitous scale.

Global warming has increased the chances of storms reaching Category 3 or higher.
The analysis, of satellite images dating to 1979, shows that warming has increased the likelihood of a hurricane developing into a major one of Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds greater than 110 miles an hour, by about 8 percent a decade.

Kossin et al 2020


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Water stress

Water stress

Water is the primary medium through which we will feel the effects of climate change. Water availability is becoming less predictable in many places, and increased incidences of flooding threaten to destroy water points and sanitation facilities and contaminate water sources.

In some regions, droughts are exacerbating water scarcity and thereby negatively impacting people’s health and productivity. Ensuring that everyone has access to sustainable water and sanitation services is a critical climate change mitigation strategy for the years ahead.

Source: UN-Water


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Wildfires

Wildfires

Climate change has been a key factor in increasing the risk and extent of wildfires. Wildfire risk depends on a number of factors, including temperature, soil moisture, and the presence of trees, shrubs, and other potential fuel.

Several studies show links between climate change and increased frequency or severity of fire weather -- periods with a high fire risk due to a combination of high temperatures, low humidity, low rainfall and often high winds -- though some note anomalies in a few regions.

Rising global temperatures, more frequent heatwaves and associated droughts in some regions increase the likelihood of wildfires by stimulating hot and dry conditions, promoting fire weather, which can be used as an overall measure of the impact of climate change on the risk of fires occurring.

University of East Anglia.2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200114074046.htm>.

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Permafrost change

Permafrost change

Permafrost, which covers 15 million km2 of the land surface, is one of the components of the Earth system that is most sensitive to warming. Loss of permafrost would radically change high-latitude hydrology and bio-geochemical cycling, and could therefore provide very significant feedback on climate change.

More information available at

Coastal and Offshore Permafrost Rapid Response Assessment

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Starting from this section we are still working (update the data to the database, create map etc...

Human Health

Human health

Climate change affects health both directly (heat waves, extreme weather events) and indirectly (forced migration, longer time spent outdoors, increased use of cooling systems, etc.).

Although global warming may bring some localized benefits, such as fewer winter deaths in temperate climates and increased food production in certain areas, the overall health effects of a changing climate are overwhelmingly negative. Climate change affects many of the the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.

According to the WHO, climate change could cause an additional 250,000 deaths each year from 2030 due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat waves. Health costs resulting directly from climate change are estimated at $ 2-4 billion per year by 2030.

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Human displacement

Human displacements

Climate refugees account for more than a half of all migrants but enjoy little protection.

Despite this, legal protection of people driven out of their homes and countries due to environment-related causes is still flawed, with no legal definition describing their status and no specific international body monitoring the protection of their rights – concerns that were raised at a recent hearing at the

European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

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Food security

Food security


Climate change brings a cascade of risks from physical impacts to ecosystems, agro-ecosystems, agricultural production, food chains, incomes and trade, with economic and social impacts on livelihoods and food security and nutrition.The people who are projected to suffer the earlier and the worst impacts from climate change are the most vulnerable populations, with livelihoods depending on agriculture sectors in areas vulnerable to climate change



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