Marginalisation of the Tropics

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As a result of the poleward amplification of temperature gains, global temperature patterns due to the greenhouse effect represent a tropicalisation of world climates. The new temperature fields will cause two major hazards in the tropics. The first is a reduction in mean rainfall. The second is more intense El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. This combination will increase desertification rates in the tropics, increase year to year climate variability and raise the number and severity of extreme events. Based on analogues drawn from several tropical regions, we predict stresses on water and in food security, losses in global trade competitiveness and significant increases in environmental disasters and environmental refugees. Even though the outer tropics is most vulnerable to climate change impacts, squeeze on the inner tropics will grow, improvements in wealth not withstanding.


Keywords: Climate Change, Global Warming, Water Stress, Risk, Vulnerability, International Competitiveness
Stream: Environmental Sustainability
Presentation Type: Plenary Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Lawrence Nkemdirim

Professor, Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Lawrence Nkemdirim received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of London and doctorate from King’s College, London. Prior to his doctorate, he trained as a weather forecaster and worked with the Meteorological Service in Lagos, Nigeria. He was an associate at the Hydrological Institute in Wallingford, England. He has taught climatology and hydrology at the Universities of Toronto, McMaster and the West Indies. He is currently professor of Climatology and Hydrology at the University of Calgary and Director of the Weather Research Centre, past chairman, Commission on climatology of the International Geographical Union. His research focus is meso-climates, climate change and variability, and climate-water systems. He is editor of UNESCO’s Encyclopaedia on Life Support Systems (Canada and the United States) and lead scientist in the International Council of Scientific Union – sponsored research on Extreme Events.

Ref: S08P0146