Expectations of “La Niña” Return: Brazil Prepares for Severe Drought

Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva announced on Wednesday that after the unprecedented floods in southern Brazil due to heavy rains, the country expects severe drought in some areas.

Brazil has faced a series of extreme weather events, the latest being the floods in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which occur once in a century and have left 172 dead.

Silva explained that the floods were caused by a combination of natural phenomena, such as “El Niño” and climate change, which have also affected other parts of the world.

She added: “We have the same phenomenon occurring in the Pantanal region, the Amazon,” referring to one of the world’s largest rainforests.

She indicated that “the unique, semi-arid, and ecologically diverse Caatinga region in the northeast is beginning to experience severe drought, and in Rio Grande do Sul, we will suffer severe drought.”

Silva, speaking at an event attended by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, warned of more fires after a record number of fires were recorded in the early months of the year.

A rapid study conducted by scientists after the floods in Rio Grande do Sul found that climate change had doubled the likelihood of the event, in addition to the significant role played by the “El Niño” phenomenon in the disaster.

The “El Niño” phenomenon, which changes rainfall patterns around the world and makes some areas more prone to heavy rains or drought, is currently weakening.

It is expected that the “La Niña” phenomenon, which can lead to drought conditions in parts of Latin America, will return.

Silva, a well-known environmental activist, took charge of the Ministry of the Environment and oversight of climate change policies in Brazil with Lula’s return to power in January 2023.

Silva revealed that between January and May, the deforestation rate in the vast, ecologically rich Cerrado tropical region decreased by 12.9%, but warned that it is premature to confirm the sustainability of this reduction.

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