44. Rio de la Plata • Uruguay
We have selected 100 unique places on Earth that are projected to undergo profound changes within the next few generations. We based our selection of the 100 places on the 4th Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Simply by drawing attention to the beauty of these places, 100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear creates an argument to preserve them. The 100 Places we have chosen to highlight, and the people who live in them, are in serious danger because of rising sea levels, rising temperatures and extreme weather events triggered by climate change. Among ambassadors are Joss Stone, Desmund Tutu for more info visit http://www.100places.com. A Raging Eddy of Mud and Water Every year, 57 million cubic metres of silt flow into the muddy estuary of Rio de la Plata, where fresh water from the Paran? and Uruguay rivers collides with salt water from the South Atlantic Ocean in a raging eddy caused by wind and changing tides. At its widest point, the mouth of this immense estuary is 220 kilometres wide, making it the largest estuary in the world. On the southern coast is Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina; on the north-eastern coast is Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. The estuary makes the soil of the surrounding regions rich and fertile. Rio de la Plata is a natural habitat for a number of threatened species, including sea turtles and the rare La Plata dolphin, the only river dolphin that lives in the ocean and in saltwater estuaries. The estuary is also home to the croaker, a drum-fish that croaks like a frog. Every year from October to January, croakers migrate to the mouth of the estuary to spawn on the riverbed and feed on mussels. For generations, the croaker has been the main catch of the local Uruguayan fishermen as well as the main food of the threatened dolphins. The croakers are now under pressure from industrial fishing and pollution, and are also highly vulnerable to climate change. Any change in climate that causes stronger winds and higher sea levels will lead to the flooding of the coastal areas of Rio de la Plata, potentially tipping the delicate balance of the ecosystem, destroying the croakers feeding ground and threatening its very existence.