Rapidly diminishing glaciers threaten water supply

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Pay attention, as this sort of thing could hit other mountainous areas that are dependent on glaciers for their water supply.


A new study in the Journal of Glaciology shows that the glaciers in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca mountain range are melting so quickly that the water they supply to the arid region is being threatened 20-30 years earlier than expected.

Lead researcher Michel Baraer, from McGill University, told IPS News that the time needed for the region to adapt to the coming water shortages, previously thought to be decades off, “those years don’t exist.”

Baraer said that the glaciers feeding the Rio Santo watershed are now too small to maintain past flows of water. During the dry season water availability is expected to be 30% lower than historic levels.

In the 1930s glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca covered 850 square kilometers. Today they cover less than 600 sq km.

In a global context, the World Glacier Monitoring Service recently has said that 90% of the glaciers studied in its latest Glacier Mass Balance Bulletin are losing mass. In the Himalaya, 75% of the glaciers there are melting; the USGS fully puts the blame on this on global warming and not other factors.

Many thanks to Treehugger for this story.

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Posted by on December 28, 2011. Filed under Environment,NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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2 Responses to Rapidly diminishing glaciers threaten water supply

  1. Milton Thornridge

    December 28, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    This fascinates me. I have no doubt to the reality of global warming or climate change. And what the deniers must recognize is that doesn’t happen overnight. A glacier is big. It takes eons to make and a long time to melt.

    Since the industrial age began we’ve polluted the atmosphere with billions of tons of pollutants. To think that has no affect on it is for lack of a better word, stupid.

    My question is, is there really much we can do about it?

    • Michael John Scott

      December 28, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Milton I don’t think there is much we can do about it. Climate change is in motion…it is happening now.