Folks here in the US can deny climate change all they want, but down in São Paulo, Brazil, it's about to get real as the city of 20 million faces it's worst drought in 80 years.
One of the causes of the crisis may be more than 2,000 kilometers away, in the growing deforested areas in the Amazon region.
“Humidity that comes from the Amazon in the form of vapor clouds - what we call ‘flying rivers’ - has dropped dramatically, contributing to this devastating situation we are living today,” said Antonio Nobre, a leading climate scientist at INPE, Brazil’s National Space Research Institute.
The changes, he said, are “all because of deforestation”.
Nobre and a group of fellow scientists and meteorologists believe the lack of rain that has dried up key reservoirs in São Paulo and neighboring states in southeastern Brazil is not just the result of an aberration in weather patterns.
Instead, global warming and the deforestation of the Amazon are altering the climate in the region by drastically reducing the release of billions of liters of water by rainforest trees, they say.
Sabesp, the state-owned water utility that serves the city, issued warnings last week that São Paulo only has about two weeks of drinking water supplies left.
And we're not just talking about water for drinking, cooking and bathing. Crops in southeastern Brazil, like sugar and coffee, look to be highly impacted by the drought.