As tracked by researchers from Europe, South America and the U.S., the melting of glaciers in the tropical Andes are beginning to gather pace in the 1970s. Glaciers of the mountain range were reduced by 30-50%. Researchers blame the acceleration of the growth in global temperatures since the last 50 years, the air in this part of the planet has become warmer by about 0,7 ° C. In the near future, changes in the life of the glacier can strongly affect the indigenous people of the Andes, affecting the local water supply.
The melting of ice seized all stocks of the Andes, but the most amenable to rapid melting of small glaciers at low altitudes. Glaciers are located below 5.4 km, each year lost approximately 1.35 meters of its thickness in the global average 1.2 meters of water equivalent. Since the maximum thickness of these small, low-altitude glaciers rarely exceeds 40 meters, then at a rate of melting, they are likely to disappear completely in the next few decades.
Among the factors influencing the process of disappearance of ice in the Andes, tropical storms in the series will take a highly prominent position, as the volume of rainfall reaching the mountains have not changed. The main role is surely to give global warming. Indeed, from 1950 to 1994. regional indicator mean temperature has increased by 0,15 ° C.
If after the fact that the tropical Andean glaciers account for 99% of all tropical glaciers in the world (most of them belong to Peru), it becomes evident that the glaciers at this latitude is not the rainbow awaits future. To avoid this, it is important now to adjust the action on the issue. This will help prevent water shortages in tropical mountain ecosystems and the many mountain areas will save from extinction or displacement.
The lives of thousands of Peruvians, especially those living in the valley of Santa, really depends on the preservation of glacial reserves the Andes. After all, if the Andes will not feed her, the local agriculture and production of electricity can put a cross, and soon on the use of water for domestic purposes. May suffer as a result of even such large cities as the Bolivian La Paz, where the glacier-dependent 15% of the annual supply of water, and in dry seasons — all 27%.
During the study, researchers collected data from the glaciers located in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. In total, the territory was almost a thousand square kilometers. This corresponds to approximately 50% of the total area covered by glaciers in the tropical Andes, as at the beginning of 2000-s. Work on the study of glaciers was conducted with scientific motives, but if the findings will push humanity to mitigate human impact on the climate and the retreat of the glacier, it will be an important step forward to save the planet.