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 ....
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.
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.
Annual Arctic Sea Ice Minimum 1979-2019 with Area Graph.
Satellite-based passive microwave images of the sea ice have provided a reliable tool for continuously monitoring changes in the Arctic ice since 1979. Every summer the Arctic ice cap melts down to what scientists call its "minimum" before colder weather begins to cause ice cover to increase. This graph displays the area of the minimum sea ice coverage each year from 1979 through 2019. In 2019, the Arctic minimum sea ice covered an area of 3.66 million square kilometers
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).
Biodiversity loss: corals shelter and sustain a huge diversity of marine wildlife that rely entirely on them for their survival, as well as for other animals related to them downstream in the food chain.
Food security: large human populations depend on marine resources to sustain their livelihoods. Impacting coral reef ecosystems poses a threat them, but also for others who benefit indirectly from them for tourism and other economic activities.
Security: Coral reefs are natural barriers that absorb the force of waves and storm surges, keeping coastal communities safe. Without them, we must rely on manmade seawalls that are expensive, less effective, and environmentally damaging to construct.
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.
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.
"More than 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress. The situation will likely worsen as populations and the demand for water grow, and as the effects of climate change intensify. (United Nations, 2018)"
"With the existing climate change scenario, by 2030, water scarcity in some arid and semi-arid places will displace between 24 million and 700 million people. (UNCCD)"
Aqueduct Water Stress Projections, World Resources Institute.
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.
This layer shows the trend of fires occurrence at province level from 2003 to 2019 based on MODIS Collection 6 Active Fire Product (MCD14ML).
The dashboard associated to the layer provides relevant information over 1) the density of fires by Km2 per each administrative unit, 2) the evolution of the monthly cumulated fires per each year, 3) the distribution of fires by land cover type (based on MODIS land cover data per each year) and 3) the number of fires occurring in critical areas such as forests, protected areas (WDPA) and forests in protected areas.
At the global scale, burned area has decreased in recent decades, largely due to clearing of savannahs for agriculture and increased fire suppression. In contrast, burned area has increased in closed-canopy forests, likely in response to the dual pressures of climate change and forest degradation
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.
Changes in Arctic systems have increased the vulnerability of permafrost coastal regions to rapid environmental changes. These changes are impacting coastal morphologies, terrestrial and offshore processes and ecosystems, bio-geochemical cycling, infrastructure, cultural heritage sites, community well-being, and human subsistence lifestyles...
Starting from this section we are still working (update the data to the database, create map etc...
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.
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
According to figures by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, (IDMC) natural disasters were the reason behind the displacement of over 17 out of 28 million people who fled their homes worldwide in 2018. Of those, 16 million displacements were due to weather-related events such as storms, floods, typhoons and hurricanes. The number for 2019 was likely to top 20 million.
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