Friday, May 16, 2008

Peruvian 'Switzerland' melting under climate change

Terra Daily, via Agence France-Presse: Peru's Cordillera Blanca, a snow-topped northern mountain range sometimes called the "Peruvian Switzerland," is slowly disappearing because of climate change, a key issue on the table of a Latin America-EU summit being held in Lima this week. The glaciers making up the range -- declared a natural world heritage site by UNESCO -- have steadily been shrinking, said Marco Zapata, the head of the glaciology unit of Peru's National Institute for Natural Resources.

He explained that between 1948 and 1976, the Cordillera Blanca has diminished by nine meters, and between 1977 and now by around 20 meters. The time left for tourists to see the spectacular zone is limited, and depends on temperature variations, he said. Zapata added: "It is known that the shrinking process of the glaciers is irreversible and nothing can be done."….

El Huascarán, the tallest mountain in Peru, in the Cordillera Blanca, by Patricio Mena Vásconez, which he generously released into the public domain, Wikimedia Commons

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