Drought has hit the Panama Canal hard – can it survive climate change?


Ships waiting to enter the Panama Canal in August 2023

Bienvenido Velasco/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The Panama Canal was among the defining engineering achievements of the 20th century. Since its completion in 1914, it has served as one of the world’s most important shipping routes, providing the fastest way to sail between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. But its visionary planners couldn’t foresee the drastic fluctuations in water supply that would come with climate change a century later.

“The fresh water supply seemed infinite,” says Matthew Larsen at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in…

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