Tuesday, January 18

Collapse in Brazil: risk of other disasters, according to meteorologist

The spectacular collapse of a section of a cliff that killed 10 people in a lake in Brazil is certainly linked to heavy rains, meteorologist Estael Sias told AFP, warning of the risk of new disasters in the weeks to come.

For two months, torrential rains have caused deadly floods, especially in the states of Bahia (northeast) and Minas Gerais (southeast), where tons of rocks fell on boats filled with tourists on Saturday.

According to Estael Sias, of the meteorological agency Metsul, this type of disaster is more and more frequent with global warming.

Question: Was the collapse of the cliff face caused by heavy rains?

Answer: “There is certainly a connection. This long period of rains caused water to seep into the rocks, which eventually moved, causing the collapse. Some videos filmed a few minutes before the drama show a large amount of water. ‘water falling from the waterfalls, exerting a strong pressure on the cliff “.

Q: What is the reason for this long period of heavy rains?

“This is due to the South Atlantic Convergence Zone (ZCAS), a typical phenomenon of the southern summer that causes intense precipitation in the region. It occurs when a moisture corridor from the Amazon meets cold air masses from the south.

This causes large volumes of rain that often causes flooding or landslides, especially in southeastern states, such as Minas Gerais, part of west-central, northeast, and northern Brazil.

This year, with the La NiƱa meteorological phenomenon (cooling in the Pacific Ocean which causes more rain than usual in some parts of the planet and terrible droughts in others), the volumes of precipitation are even greater. .

Heavy rains are still forecast in the Minas Gerais region for the next 10 days and unfortunately more disasters could occur.

During the second half of January, the humidity coming from the Amazon will be heard further south of the country, but the southern summer is still very humid. February and March are also periods when heavy rainfall is expected.

Q: What is the role of global warming in these phenomena?

A: “Extreme weather events are more and more frequent all over the world. There are extreme heat, more and more recurring rains. And since the last decades have been the hottest in the history of the planet , it is difficult not to link phenomena like the ZCAS to global warming, which accentuates extremes around the world.


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