Monday, April 28, 2008

Melting Andean glaciers imperil 30 million

Environment News Service: About 99 percent of the Chacaltaya glacier in Bolivia has disappeared since 1940, says World Bank engineer Walter Vergara, in his new report, "The Impacts of Climate Change in Latin America." One of the highest glaciers in South America, Chacaltaya is one of the first glaciers to melt due to climate change. Although the glacier is over 18,000 years old, it is expected to vanish this year. "The greenhouse gases are the main driver," says Vergara. "The scientific community has a consensus - this is manmade."

Since 1970, glaciers in the Andes have lost 20 percent of their volume, according to a report by Peru's National Meteorology and Hydrology Service. Loss of glaciers in the Andes mountain range is threatening the water supply of 30 million people, and scientists say the lower altitude glaciers could disappear in 10 years.

With water supplies, agriculture, and power generation at risk, the World Bank and the funding agency Global Environment Facility are working together to develop adaptation strategies for local communities.

…Seventy percent of the world's tropical glaciers are in the high Andes Cordillera of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Of the 18 currently existing mountain glaciers in Peru, 22 percent of the surface has been lost over the past 27 to 35 years, scientists warn….

Chacaltaya glacier in Bolivia, shot by "Vico ricab," Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2

No comments: