Cities adapting to Climate Change


 1.       Fighting Desertification

For some regions, global warming means less rainfall. Battling desertification will be crucial in the African Sahel or parts of China. The photo shows farmers planting grass to stabilize sand dunes on the edge of the Mu Us Desert in Lingwu, northwest China. (Source: Reuters)


2.       Mangrove planting as flood protection

Indonesian university students plant mangrove trees along the Jakarta bay area. Traditionally mangroves have protected coastal communities from storm surges but many have been cleared to make way for fish farms, urban expansion or tourist developments. Mangroves should help Indonesia's coastal communities fend off the rising seas and stronger tropical storms climate scientists expect to see in the future. (Source: Reuters)


3.       Chicago

A boy cools off at the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park in Chicago. Crowds flocked to waterfronts and swimming pools on the U.S. East Coast and in the Midwest to try to cope with a massive heat wave in July 2011 that killed at least 22 people.

Climatologists predict serious changes in climatic conditions for cities, even in the developed world. Chicago, for example, faces temperature rises, more frequent and extreme storms, and seasonally shifting precipitation.

The Chicago Climate Action Plan could be an inspiration for other cities worldwide. It includes the planting of more than 500,000 trees, the greening of paved spaces to reduce the urban heat island effect, and the development of an Extreme Weather Operations Plan. (Source: Reuters)


4.       Salt-tolerant crops

A rice variety submerged in salt water being developed at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Laguna province south of Manila. Climate scientists expect future sea level rises to threaten many traditional rice-growing areas with inundation by salty water.

New rice varieties, including salt- and flood-tolerant varieties, could help farmers maintain and even boost production under extreme weather conditions and in regions that are, due to increased salinity and problematic soils, as yet uncultivated. (Source: Reuters)


5.       Harvesting rainwater

A man collects rainwater during a thunderstorm in Havana.

Nature’s water cycle can’t deal with our needs, and that’s before the worst climate change impacts strike regions vulnerable to drought and desertification. Today, more than 800 million people have to rely on unsafe drinking water resources. Another 2.5 billion people in the developing world lack improved sanitation facilities.

One way to tackle water shortages is to harvest rainwater. Storage systems can be made from inexpensive local materials and consist of down pipes from house roofs, filter units, storage tanks and pumps. Rainwater harvesting helps to avoid groundwater depletion and provides water for domestic purposes, irrigation and drinking. (Source: Reuters)


6.       Smart irrigation to conserve water

An irrigation system sprays recycled waste water on a field in southern Israel. In drought-prone regions water for farming should be used sparingly, especially as these regions will probably get even drier with climate change.

Precise irrigation systems such as drip irrigation are one way to reduce water loss and power consumption. By programming the water supply according to specific environment and plant requirements, the system trickles, drips and sprays water below the soil surface, delivering it directly to the plant roots. This minimizes losses through evaporation of water on the surface. (Source: Reuters)


7.       Desalination

Steadily rising water consumption and temperature increases also threaten freshwater supplies. Saltwater desalination provides an alternative for coastal regions.

The picture shows a water desalination plant, built close to the Patagonian village of Puerto Piramides in Argentina. Every day the plant produces about 175,000 litres of desalinated water suitable for urban use and irrigation. (Source: Reuters)


8.       Stopping the Sea

The Netherlands is among the countries most at risk from rising sea levels. After thousands lost their lives in a devastating flood in 1953, the country started fortifying seawalls, expanding canals, and constructing dikes, dams, and locks in a large-scale project called the "Delta Works."

The satellite image shows the Dutch region of Zeeland. Dikes are clearly visible. (Source: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team)


9.       The Delta Works

The American Society of Civil Engineers has named the Dutch "Delta Works" one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

The image shows one of the first storm surge barriers erected in Zeeland shortly after the disastrous floods in 1953. The works were finished after almost fifty years in 1997. With over 10,250 miles (16,500 km) of dikes and 300 structures, the project is one of the most extensive engineering projects in the world. (Source: Shutterstock)


10.   Protecting the Land (10/11)

While the "Delta Works" have helped prevent further flood catastrophes in the Netherlands, they wouldn't be able to resist further rising sea levels. Dams and dikes will have to be made higher and wider.

The Dutch parliament even commissioned a study on whether an artificial island in the shape of a tulip could help protect the most vulnerable parts of the Dutch coastline. The picture shows an artist's rendition of the project. (Source: Reuters)


11.   The Last Choice: Migration

If adaptation fails, migration is often the last choice for those threatened by the impacts of climate change. If resources are stressed, local conflicts often erupt adding another danger to the situation.

This aerial view shows an abandoned village in the desert of North Darfur, Sudan in November 2004. People were driven out after attacks by Arab militias. Experts say that a changing climate and scarce resources has been one of the underlying causes of the crisis. (Source: Reuters)



(Article sourced from: Allianz)