South American Glaciers Shrinking Significantly, Melting Faster – Report

Climate change has shrunk glaciers in the South American Andes between 30 and 50 percent since the 1970s and could melt many of them away altogether in coming years, according to a study published recently in the journal The Cryosphere, reports Mitra Taj at World Environment News. A vital source of fresh water for tens of millions of South Americans, the glaciers are retreating at their fastest rates in more than 300 years, according to the most comprehensive review of Andean ice loss so far, covering about half of all Andean glaciers. The study blamed the loss on an average temperature spike of about 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 70 years. Researchers also warned that future warming could totally wipe out the smaller glaciers found at lower altitudes that store and release fresh water for downstream communities. “This is a serious concern because a large proportion of the population lives in arid regions to the west of the Andes,” said the lead study scientist. Indeed, according to some scientists, the Chacaltaya glacier in the Bolivian Andes, once a ski resort, has already disappeared completely.

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Source

Andean glaciers melting at “unprecedented” rates: study http://planetark.org/wen/67722

Also: Climate change melting glaciers in the Andes. Glaciers are melting faster than ever in the tropical Andes, warns a new study published in The Cryosphere, which puts the blame for vanishing glaciers squarely on climate change. Mongabay

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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