MILANO – A study conducted by the group of researchers from the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (CNR-ISAC) of Turin together with the Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources (IGG-CNR) of Pisa revealed how some regions of the world are more sensitive to climate changes. They are the Amazon, the Sahel, the tropical areas of western Africa, Indonesia and the eastern part of central Asia.
The parameters of the study
The research, published in the American Geophysical Union magazine Geophysical Research Letters, took a few parameters into consideration:
- average temperature
- inter-annual average temperature and precipitation variability
- frequency of seasons with average temperature and precipitation higher than the maximum in the previous thirty year period
- frequency of seasons with average precipitation lower than the seasonal average in the previous thirty year period.
This work provides confirmation that there are areas which are more sensitive to climate change, that are warming more quickly than others: these locations have been defined as true “climate hot spots”, pointing out considerable variations in the average values and in the variability of temperature and precipitation during the year. The changes recorded in these parameters can have a significant effect on the ecosystems, on agricultural production, on the availability of water resources and on the hydro-geological risk.
Identifying these regions
The intention of the Cnr study is to point out how global change is not a mere future hypothesis but a process that is already in progress. The identification of the most sensitive regions should stimulate the development of international strategies to mitigate the risks and adapt: “Our work, based on the analysis of public records on temperature and precipitation data in the last sixty years (1951-2010), demonstrated that the most sensitive regions to the changes are the Amazon, the Sahel, the tropical areas of western Africa, Indonesia and the eastern part of central Asia – said Antonello Provenzale, director of the Igg-Cnr – In all these areas joint changes were found in many of the climate parameters considered (temperature, precipitation and their variability), confirming that these specific regions are subject to changes of the overall climate conditions. Nevertheless, in general almost all the regions of the world show significant changes in at least some climate parameters. In the Mediterranean basin in particular, the average summer temperature has risen about one degree over the last fifty years, parallel to the increase of the risk of summer heat waves.”
by editorial staff