The Panama Canal, aside from serving as an important trade route between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, also provides 2 million Panamanians with water from its artificial lakes.
Due to severe droughts resulting from increasing climate disruptions, its water level has lowered. According to this NYT article, “any hiccup in its operation can ripple through the global economy and affect the United States, the origin or destination for much of the canal’s traffic. And those problems may become more commonplace as the climate changes.”
The Canal has also experienced issues with too much water. “The rainy season has its own challenges. In December 2010, torrential rains caused the lakes to overflow; the resulting flooding forced the canal to be closed for a day. Too much water inundating the system can also damage locks and other infrastructure.
Mr. Vargas said the authority has a team of meteorologists, scientists and engineers who forecast and plan how to handle water extremes, and their skills will be used even more as the climate changes.”