Andean Tropical Glaciers Going Fast, May Soon Be Gone
by Paul Brown, Climate News Network
The glaciers of the tropical Andes have shrunk by between 30 and 50 percent in 30 years and many will soon disappear altogether, cutting off the summer water supply for millions of people, according to scientists studying the region’s climate.
Their findings are particularly significant because glaciers in the tropics, 99 percent of which are in the Andes, are regarded as among the most sensitive indicators of climate change on the planet, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In the Andes glaciers contribute to irrigation, hydroelectricity generation, and water supply. For example, 15 percent of the water consumed in La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, comes from glaciers, a figure that doubles in the summer. The region, with 3.5 million people, is heavily dependent on melt water for its survival (and see our story of 25 January, Andean glaciers show record melting)…
(photo: Edubucher | wikipedia)