Climate change halves Peru glacier: official
Thursday 24 February 2011
A glacier on Peru's Huaytapallana Moutain shed half its surface ice in just 23 years, officials said Wednesday, reinforcing concerns of climate change's growing threat to fresh water resources.
"Recent scientific studies indicate that between June 1983 and August 2006, the glacier has lost 50 percent of its surface ice," Erasmo Meza, manager of natural resources and the environment in the central Andean region of Junin, told the official Andina news agency.
He said the five square kilometers (1.9 square miles) of ice shrinkage on Huaytapallana, whose steep, jagged glacier and breathtaking lakes are popular tourist draws, was caused by global warming and presents growing problems in agriculture, health, fresh water resources and disaster mitigation.
To prevent further deterioration on the 5,557-meter (18,230-foot) mountain, the regional government of Junin is developing a project to declare Huaytapallana a natural conservation area - a move Meza said could help prevent damage from a mining company doing a feasibility study in the area.
Glacier studies are often carried out in the Andes, the so-called "Roof of the Americas" region comprising more than 100 peaks above 5,000 meters (16,500 feet).
But the Huaytapallana studies show a sharper rate of glacial melt than other major findings.
A 2009 World Bank-published report said that in the last 35 years, Peru's glaciers have shrunk by 22 percent, leading to a 12 percent loss in the amount of fresh water reaching the coast - home to most of the country's citizens.
It also warned that Andean glaciers and the peaks' permanent snow caps could disappear in 20 years if no measures are taken to tackle climate change, echoing the findings of Peruvian agencies.
One of the most threatened is Pastoruri, a 5,200-meter (17,060-foot) peak in Huascaran National Park in northern Peru that is home to Huascaran Mountain, Peru's highest point at 6,768 meters (22,200 feet).
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Frilled shark: Australian fishermen capture terrifying shark from the deep
Boiling ourselves to death: Temperatures on Earth hit another record high, here’s the projected effect on humans
World’s largest snake species has 'virgin birth'
Have you heard 'the hum'? Mystery of Earth's low droning noise could now be solved
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 4 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...