Climate change is impacting supply and demand of salt. In a series of blogs, I will present recent findings about the impact of climate change on the security of supply and the changes in demand, most importantly in de-icing.
- Impact on Supply Security
Unseasonal rainfalls, brought by the cyclonic storm Tauktae, caused a significant loss of Indian salt production in 2021, and damaged the production infrastructure.
Some publications claim that there is evidence for an increasing likelihood of heavy rains with the climatic changes that are expected over the next decades. This would not only affect solar salt production in India and Pakistan, but also in Mexico and Australia. Production volumes could be at risk, and significant reductions in salt supply would have to be expected more frequently.
In the chapter “Changes in Climate Extremes and their Impacts on the Natural Physical Environment”, of the most recent 2021 IPCC special report, scientific literature is studied. Conclusions about the likelihood for increasing heavy precipitation with changing climate are described as follows:
“It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase in the 21st century over many areas of the globe. This is particularly the case in the high latitudes and tropical regions, and in winter in the northern mid-latitudes. Heavy rainfalls associated with tropical cyclones are likely to increase with continued warming. There is medium confidence that, in some regions, increases in heavy precipitation will occur despite projected decreases in total precipitation in those regions.” However, there seems to be no evidence for increasing frequency of heavy rainfall in regions of solar salt production:
- South Asia: “Low confidence: Mixed signal in India”
- Australia: “Low confidence to high confidence depending on region: Insufficient studies for assessment in North Australia, likely decrease in Heavy Precipitation in many areas in South Australia”
- Central America and Mexico: “Medium confidence: Spatially varying trends. Increase in many areas, decrease in a few areas”
Supply interruptions as a result of climate change, for salt from the main exporting countries may not become more frequent over the next decades.