What is climate change?
It is a change in climate caused by certain gases emitted by human activities. These gases trap heat and raise the temperature of the atmosphere. This has the following effects.
In humid areas the air absorbs more humidity which causes:
- More intense rains and storms.
- More erosion.
- More flooding.
- More landslides.
The ocean becomes warmer and more acid which causes:
- The death of coral reefs.
- Red tides.
- More intense hurricanes.
The air becomes dryer in arid zones which causes:
- Longer droughts.
- Dryer rivers, creeks, and springs.
- More fires.
- The death of forests, flora, and fauna.
- The growth of deserts.
Seasons are altered which causes:
- Longer summers.
- Shorter and more intense winters.
The polar ice caps, glaciers and the tundra melt which cause:
- Rising sea levels, disappearing islands, and receding coastlines.
- Scarcity of water in places that depend on snowmelt from mountains.
And all of these changes imply:
- Lower and less predictable food production.
- Changes in habitats and ecosystems which lower biodiversity.
- Extension of the range of mosquitos and other insects that transmit diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and chagas.
- Unstable economies and increased poverty.
Foto por Climate Reality Project
Foto por Evelyn Obando
What are the impacts of climate change in Monteverde?
In Monteverde, between 1972 and 2012, the average annual rainfall increased from about 2.5 meters to about 3.5 meters of rain per year. At the same time, the average number of dry days increased from an average of 28 to more than 82. Precipitation tends to fall in more intense downpours. The soil does not absorb the water, causing more erosion, and the aquifer is not restored.
Because the air is warmer, clouds pass above the Caribbean slope of the Tilarán mountain range rather than into it. In turn, less mist and fog passes through the Monteverde cloud forest than before and we have fewer rainbows.
What provokes the greenhouse gases?
Human activities are emitting more GHGs than normal and as a result the earth is warmer each year.
The Principal Greenhouse Gases
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is generated by fossil fuels, forest fires, tilling soil, wetlands, and other sources. Fossil fuels include coal, natural gas, petroleum and its derivatives. Automobiles are the main source of CO2 in Costa Rica.
Methane El metano (CH4) is generated by livestock, manure, and solid waste in landfills, among other sources. Livestock is the main source of methane in Costa Rica and is 21 times more powerful than CO2 in warming the atmosphere.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is generated by chemical fertilizers, manure, and burning fossil fuels, among other sources. The majority of N2O in Costa Rica is emitted by fertilizers. N2O is 310 times stronger than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are found in refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. HFCs are between 1000 and 12,000 times stronger than CO2 in warming the atmosphere.
¿What is resilience?
Resilience is the ability to function in spite of disruptions. This concept can refer to an individual, a community, a region, or a country.
What is mitigation?
Mitigation is an action that reduces the emission of greenhouse gases or that captures carbon from the atmosphere. Planting trees and protecting growing forests are the main ways the carbon is currently captured.
What is adaptation?
It is the combination of actions that reduce vulnerabilities to and moderate the damage caused by climate change. At the same time, these actions might take advantage of new opportunities that emerge.
CLIMATE CHANGE RESOURCES
POSTER: 350 ideas to reduce greenhouse gases
Pathways to Resilience to Climate Change in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Inventario Nacional de Gases de Efecto Invernadero y Absorción de Carbono 2012