Climate change can reveal the unexpected. Predicting and modeling the impacts of global warming are often analyses of deep uncertainty. Scientists can only make educated guesses as to the catastrophes, sea level rises, and ecosystem imbalance that would ensue if our planet goes over the 2°C threshold.
Looking at weather and climate records from the past few decades, we can however declare with certainty that global temperatures have already risen by an average 0.8°C , with the poles and tropics faring worse.
We also have the evidence base to attest that extreme weather events have increased in frequency. Rising temperatures are likely to be correlated to the increased incidents of extreme weather such as hurricanes, cyclones, or droughts. The state of California is now in its fourth consecutive year of drought.
Another area which is suffering from drought is Mexico, and in particular the Nezahualcóyotl reservoir which serves the people and farms of Chiapas state. Mexico’s drought is increasing in severity, with accounts that it is the country’s worst in 70 years.
After prolonged drought Nezahualcóyotl’s water levels have dropped by about 25 metres . This huge loss of water though, revealed a haunting relic from the past: a grand 16th century colonial church.
The 450 year old Temple of Quechula, also known as the Temple of Santiago, has only emerged twice since the building of the Nezahualcóyotl’s dam in 1966. The construction of the reservoir’s dam flooded the lakebed, which submerged the handsome church. The church was last visible in 2002, when the river levels dropped low enough for visitors to walk inside the once hallowed space. Now again the church ruins are fully visible and once again can be toured by curious visitors.
Climate change brings surprises, but more often than not these impacts are negative. Due to the water shortage and lack of rainfall, the Mexican state of Chiapas may have a new temporary tourist attraction. However, the entire country has been experiencing significant crop loss and farmland devastation.
Warming temperatures are drying up water resources worldwide , meaning that more artifacts are emerging in affected areas. This August, remnants of Jewish tombstones and a Soviet fighter plane from World War II surfaced as a result of depleting water levels in Poland’s Vistula River .
Leonel Mendoza fishes every day in a reservoir surrounded by forest and mountains in the southern Mexico state of Chiapas. But in recent days, he also has been ferrying curious passengers out to see the remains of a colonial-era church that has emerged from the receding waters. Drought this year has hit the watershed of the Grijalva river, dropping the water level in the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir by more than 80 feet