Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Melting glaciers threaten water resources
by Staff Writers
Lima (UPI) Jan 24, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Melting glaciers in Latin America's southern Andean range expose the region to risk of future water shortages, new data indicated.

A new study in The Cryosphere journal said climate change caused the glaciers to melt and shrink 30-50 percent since the 1970s and could eventually melt many of them away in coming years.

Peru's glaciers were cited in the study among those severely affected.

The Andean glaciers are a vital source of fresh water for tens of millions of people in the region, who are already affected by huge income disparities, poor housing and sanitation in the less developed areas of South America.

Findings in The Cryosphere, published from Germany, indicated the glaciers melting at their fastest rates in more than 300 years. The study was the most comprehensive investigation of climate change impact on Andean ice.

The role of glaciers as temporal water reservoirs is particularly pronounced in the outer tropics because of the very distinct wet and dry seasons, the study said.

"Rapid glacier retreat caused by climatic changes is thus a major concern, and decision makers demand urgently for regional/local glacier evolution trends, ice mass estimates and runoff assessments."

It said data from the affected area remains very scarce. The Cordillera Vilcanota in southern Peruvian Andes is the second largest glacier in Peru after the Cordillera Blanca.

"While we found only marginal glacier changes between 1962 and 1985, there has been a massive ice loss since 1985 (about 30 percent of area and about 45 percent of volume)."

The study, "Glacier changes and climate trends derived from multiple sources in the data scarce Cordillera Vilcanota region, southern Peruvian Andes" brought together scientists from Peru, France, Switzerland and the United States.

Data on about half of all Andean glaciers in South America showed that ice loss appeared to have been caused by an average temperature increase of 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 70 years.

Evidence that the glaciers are shrinking at an unprecedented pace led scientists to conclude that smaller glaciers would also be vulnerable, exposing communities downstream to risks of water shortages.

One of the worst affected glaciers, Chacaltaya in the Bolivian Andes, used to be a ski resort before it lost its ice completely. The glacier was believed to be about 18,000 years old and a key source of slow release of water.

Scientists say underground water resources depend on glaciers which, in some parts of the Andes, supply up to 60 percent of fresh water.


Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Water restored in Chile capital after day-long cut
Santiago (AFP) Jan 23, 2013
Water has been restored in Chile's capital Santiago after a 24-hour pollution-related outage that affected more than two million people, the water utility said Wednesday. The cut-off in the supply of drinking water to more than 593,000 homes from early Tuesday was linked to contamination in a key river that supplies the city and forced the closure of several businesses. The Aguas Andinas ... read more

Kerry urges 'fresh thinking' to tackle global woes

Philippines typhoon victims need more help: UN

Canada to resettle up to 5,000 Iranian, Iraqi refugees

China factory fire hidden by thick smog: media

New information on binding gold particles over metal oxide surfaces

Researchers Create Method for More Sensitive Electrochemical Sensors

Phoenix Rising: New Video Shows Advances in Satellite Repurposing Program

Novel sensor provides bigger picture

Melting glaciers threaten water resources

Water restored in Chile capital after day-long cut

Water shut off to Chilean capital: official

Cotton with special coating collects water from fogs in desert

Chile expands Antarctica presence

Unprecedented glacier melting in the Andes blamed on climate change

Penguin head-cam captures bird's eye view of hunt

Melt ponds cause the Artic sea ice to melt more rapidly

Pesticides killing amphibians, says study

15,000 crocs escape from South African farm

Bacterial supplement could help young pigs fight disease

USDA Studies Confirm Plant Water Demands Shift with Water Availability

Mozambique floods hit power exports, displace 70,000

Twenty rescued as floods sweep northeast Australia

Warning raised for New Zealand volcano

Massive earthquakes came as surprise

Outside View: Building a secure Somalia

S.Africa court freezes military transfer to Zimbabwe

Eritrean troops besiege mutineers in Asmara

Mugabe calls for peace as VP Nkomo buried

Bindi Irwin slams Hillary Clinton editors over essay

A relative from the Tianyuan Cave

Four-stranded 'quadruple helix' DNA structure proven to exist in human cells

Geneticist wants to revive Neanderthals

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement