"Will Climate Change Cut Off The Panama Canal?"

"To see the economic consequences of global warming look no further than the Panama Canal. There, water levels are down because of less rain in Central America. Experts fear ordinary consumers may end up paying the price."

"The Panama Canal connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific. Its creation was a huge boon for global shipping. Before the canal was completed, a ship had to travel around the southern tip of South America, a much longer and more dangerous route.

The sea around the stormy Cape Horn was a veritable ships' graveyard for centuries. Thousands of sailors died there and countless ships were lost. But the passage through the Panama Canal shortened the trip by more than 13,000 kilometers (8,000 miles), saving money and time.

But now, climate change appears to be threatening this route. Every time the canal's locks are opened, millions of liters of fresh water flow into the sea. As a consequence, the water level in the canal drops. It is eventually replaced by more water flowing in. However now residents, conservationists and meteorologists are all observing a decrease in rainfall in Central America as a result of climate change. Which means less water for the canal. And if the fresh water that flows out of the canal's locks can no longer be replaced, then large ships will find it increasingly difficult to pass through."

Dirk Kaufmann reports for DW May 29, 2023.

Source: DW, 05/30/2023