The Climate Observatory expresses its solidarity with the population of Rio de Janeiro, especially with the relatives and friends of the victims of the storm that affected the city between Monday night (April 8) and Tuesday (April 9), which left at least ten people dead.

In some neighborhoods, it rained in four hours over one and a half times the expected rainfall for the entire month, according to Climatempo. The measurements of Cemaden (the Center for the Monitoring and Alerts of Natural Disaster) recorded an accumulated rainfall in 24 hours exceeding 300 mm in two weather stations of the city. This is almost three times the average for the month.

This is the third occurrence of extreme rainfall in Rio just this year. On February 6-7, seven people were killed in an also atypical storm, but with less rain than this current deluge. Among the reasons for this large volume of unseasonal rain, according to meteorologists, is the abnormal warming of the Atlantic waters along the southeast coast, which also caused Tropical Storm Iba in March. Only last week, four people were killed in Piauí after storms.

All these climatic extremes, which are increasingly serious and frequent, show that the Brazilian climate has changed and reached a new normal, where what was rare has now become commonplace. Authorities, such as the mayor of Rio, Marcelo Crivella (PRB), appear to have not yet understood this, and attribute these disasters to “atypical conditions” of the weather. In the federal government, luminaries such as the ministers of the Environment, Ricardo Salles (Novo-SP) and Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Araujo, insist that climate change is a mere academic discussion or a left-wing conspiracy.

The time has passed for the elected representatives of Brazil to prevaricate over the weather. The adaptation to climate change is urgent in order to save lives and protect assets. Allowing people to die as a result of the climate due to avoidable situations is increasingly fraudulent.

This article was originally published on Climate Observatory website, on April 9 2019.

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