Brazilian researchers working with the National Institute of Science and Technology for Climate Change (INTC-MC) are going to map out the vulnerabilities of ten Brazilian megacities in the face of the impact of climate change.
According to the coordinator of the institute, Carlos Nobre, the aim is to identify problems in order to set the directions of public policies for adapting the cities and make it easier to calculate the cost of global warming for the Brazilian economy.
The maps should point out the fragilities of urban centers when faced with health-related impacts of global warming – such as the increase or emergence of new diseases and the situation of coastal areas, which should see a reduction as the level of the sea rises.
Furthermore, other aspects that will be approached include areas of urban ecology, water resources and natural disasters, such as the extreme floods and droughts that have hit the country in recent months.
With an initial investment of approximately 1 million Brazilian reais (US$ 481.6 million), the diagnosis will start with the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and the initial results will be disclosed in March 2010.
The studies concerning the cities of Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Brasília, Salvador, Recife, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte and Belém still depend on funding, which is being negotiated with the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, according to Nobre.
The maps should focus more on quality than on quantity, according to the researcher, one of the reasons being the lack of specific studies on the cities that may subsidize the survey.
"For instance, in order to detail with greater precision the impact of the rising sea level in Rio de Janeiro, it would take topographic maps with a resolution of 1 and 2 centimeters, and the existing ones have a resolution of half a meter [50 centimeters]," he said.