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Snaking its way through thousands of kilometers of South American rainforest and pampas and past sprawling soybean and corn farms, the Parana River is the main thoroughfare for Argentine commerce. Some 80% of the country’s crop exports flow through its muddy waters en route to the Atlantic Ocean.

So when the river’s levels fell to the lowest since the 1940s — the result of years of scorching drought that scientists attribute to climate change — it deepened the strains on an economy that was already struggling to recover from its pandemic collapse.

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