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Global warming threatens sports in Brazil, according to Observatório do Clima

In the report “Farther Away from the Podium – How Climate Change Will Affect Sports in Brazil”, iCS grantee Observatório do Climainvestigated the consequences of excessive heat in sports events. In addition to hindering the breaking of records and impairing athletes’ performances, climate changes may actually affect athlete’s health and endanger their lives.


Even though the Rio Olympic Games are held during the winter, record temperatures are being recorded, above what is ideal for sports events such as the marathon. In the test events held last year, many schedules had to be changed. Still, some athletes were unable to finish certain events due to extreme heat. This is the case of race walking, in which 11 of the 18 competitors had problems when temperatures reached 38°C.


In addition to changes in schedules, higher temperatures will demand more attention and technology geared towards health and thermal adaptation. Since the human body has a narrow temperature range in which it can function, there is the risk of athletes literally dying of heat.


The report used data from global climate models to set up a map showing the risk affecting the practice of sports in the capital cities of Brazil until the end of the century. In the worst-case emission scenario established by the IPCC, the UN climate panel, 12 cities will have restrictions on all outdoors physical activities during certain parts of the year. In Manaus, such restrictions would apply during the entire year.

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