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21/11/2017

Tool maps vulnerabilities to climate change in the Amazon


Reginaldo Alves (Fiocruz Minas)

Temperature increase of up to 5°C, 25% reduction in total annual precipitation volume, and 36% increase in the number of consecutive days without rain. When associated with data on health, population, vegetation, occurrence of extreme events and socio-economic structures, these scenarios allow us to define which municipalities in the State of Amazonas, in the Amazon, will be more vulnerable to climate change.

The diagnosis is made from a technological innovation, a software named Climate Vulnerability System (Sistema de Vulnerabilidade Climática — SisVuClima), which generates thematic maps, charts and graphs about the 62 municipalities of Amazonas. The proposal of the tool is to enable the planning of actions in the medium and long term to reduce the impacts of climate change and increase the population's capacity to adapt to this new scenario. The system is a product of the project Climate Change Vulnerability (Vulnerabilidade à Mudança do Clima), conducted by Fiocruz in partnership with the Brazilian Department of Environment.

SisVuClima generates 67 types of information about Amazon municipalities, including data on the occurrence of natural disasters. According to the tool, the South and Southeast portions of the state would be the most affected ones for that indicator. The municipality of São Paulo de Olivença, for example, would be most susceptible one to cope with landslides caused by heavy rains, floods, storms, flooding, drought/dries and forest fires. Boca do Acre, Canutama and Humaitá would also be more vulnerable cities to such situations.

The area around Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, tends to be affected by landslides and floods due to the high concentration of population. The impacts of climate change can hamper access to drinking water, generate food insecurity and jeopardize fishing, agriculture and livestock. Specifically for Amazonas, droughts would compromise navigation and, consequently, the supply of water, food and fuel.

One of the analyses made from the software related climate change to poverty, considering the population's access to healthcare services, education and quality of life. According to the analysis, the municipalities of Tapauá, Juruá, Santa Isabel do Rio Negro and Atalaia do Norte would be most affected ones when considering that indicator, mainly due to data on infant mortality, illiteracy and low income. Such factors contribute to a high vulnerability, considering that the populations living in these cities would have more difficulties to cope with the adverse effects of climate.

Innovative tool
SisVuClima consists of three modules: directory of information required for the calculation of the indicators, generation of indices and sub-indices and the visualization of results by means of thematic maps and graphics.

The coordinator of the project and investigator at Fiocruz, Ulisses Confalonieri, emphasizes the importance of the software to the municipalities of Amazonas. “The system allows you to identify which part of the territory is more and less vulnerable to climate change and those which are more able to recover from potential climate impacts. With this information, the manager will have an instrument to guide his/her actions and a quantitative criterion to prioritize the strategies of action”, says the investigator.

The tool was also developed to assess the vulnerability of the municipalities of Espírito Santo, Pernambuco, Paraná, Maranhão and Mato Grosso do Sul.

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