BOLIVIA’S SECOND-LARGEST LAKE, Lake Poopó, was officially pronounced evaporated in December 2015. Poopó once flourished with a 16-foot maximum depth and an area twice the size of Los Angeles (380 square miles), but today it exists at just 2 percent of its water level. Scientists believe El Niño is mainly to blame for the evaporation — combined with Poopó’s tributaries being diverted into the mining and agriculture industries. Climate change has also caused a 1-degree Celsius temperature rise in the past three years.
Hundreds of local workers have been forced to relocate because of the failing fishing industry, and 75 species of birds have disappeared. Dirk Hoffman, a glaciologist, told The Guardian, “This is a picture of the future of climate change.”
In the past Lake Poopó has gone through El Niño-fueled droughts, only to replenish itself again. But today scientists believe that because of climate change’s rising temperatures, that’s probably not possible this time around.