COVID-19 in Glacier Regions Update: Latin America Responds, Italy Uses Drones to Enforce Quarantine, and the US Copes

A village below the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca

 

For the past two weeks GlacierHub has made space in the usual Monday news roundup for coverage of the coronavirus pandemic as it impacts glacier regions. In continuing that reporting, the following is an aggregation of coronavirus news stories from global glacier regions, written by guest author Peter Deneen.

Read more...

Acodado Glacier, Chile Retreat Yields Tripling in Lake Area 1987 - 2020

Loriaux and Casassa (2013)  examined the expansion of lakes of the Northern Patagonia Ice Cap (NPI). From 1945 to 2011 lake area expanded 65%, 66 km 2 . Rio Acodado has two large glacier termini at its headwater, HPN2 and HPN3. that are fed by the same accumulation zone and comprise the Acodado Glacier. The glacier separates from Steffen Glacier at 900 m. The lakes at the terminus of each were first observed in 1976 and had an area of 2.4 and 5.0 km 2  in 2011  (Loriaux and Casassa, 2013).    Willis et al (2012)  noted a 3.5 m thinning per year from 2001-2011 in the ablation zone of the Acodado Glacier, they also note annual velocity is less than 300 m/year in the ablation zone.  Davies and Glasser (2012)  noted that the Acodado Glacier termini, HPN2 and HPN3, had retreated at a steadily increasing rate from 1870 to 2011....
Read more...

Risks and Options from New Lakes in the Andes of Peru: Implications for Future Water Management

In the Andes of Peru and adjacent arid lowlands, human subsistence often depends on year-round streamflow from glaciers and lakes, particularly in the dry season. However, global change impacts increasingly affect local hydrology and associated livelihoods which is clearly demonstrated by the impacts of glacier shrinkage. Rapidly growing lakes (Fig. 1) in deglaciating mountain regions potentially imply severe risks but also options for human livelihoods.

Read more...

Peru’s Ancient Water Systems Can Help Protect Communities from Shortages Caused by Climate Change

Water is essential for human life, but in many parts of the world water supplies are under threat from more extreme, less predictable weather conditions due to climate change. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Peruvian Andes, where rising temperatures and receding glaciers forewarn of imminent water scarcity for the communities that live there.

Read more...

Opportunities in Mountain Environments Explored at Mountains 2018

The city of Nova Friburgo, in the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, hosted Mountains 2018 , 10-14 December, with debates on topics ranging from agricultural production to ecological tourism and climate change, culminating in the creation of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Research in Mountain Environments. “Like Lumont Lusofonia Mountain Research Network, the goal is to strengthen research in the area and set goals to improve people's lives, with sustainability,” says Embrapa researcher Adriana Aquino, chair of the Mountains 2018 organizing commission. According to her, the network will be an instrument to encourage the creation of government programs and promote joint research between institutions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Discussions taking place at Mountains 2018. Image credit: Fernando Gregio. A highlight of Mountains 2018 was the presentation of the Letter of Nova Friburgo , a participant-led initiative to alert society and government of the importance of...
Read more...

Hiking for science: hydrological research at the Páramo of Chirripó, Costa Rica

[caption id="attachment_3902" align="alignright" width="300"] Weather stations installed at the Base Crestones shelter Written by  Germain Esquivel-Hernández , Associate Professor at the School of Chemistry of the National University in Costa Rica. Restricted to the latitudinal zone between the parallels of 11°N and 8°S, the Páramo is a key mountainous tropical ecosystem in South America because of the environmental services it provides, including high water production and carbon storage capacity. However, the so-called 'Isthmian Páramo' situated in Costa Rica and Panama remains understudied due to its remote location, compared to some of the better understood Páramo areas in South America. Here, I share how I embarked on a scientific journey to reveal the water secrets of the most extensive Páramo region in Central America: Chirripó. Chirripó is a national park with an extension of about 100 km 2 , situated in the Talamanca Range (southern Costa Rica), where approximately 30 lakes of glacial...
Read more...

New Study Highlights Loss & Damage in Mountain Cryosphere

Written by  Andrew Angle.  This article was first published on  GlacierHub . Few areas of the planet have been more affected by climate change than the mountain cryosphere, where negative impacts like glacier recession far exceed any positives like short-term increases in glacial runoff. These adverse changes make highland environments ideal for examining the policy concept of Loss and Damage (L&D), which deals with the impact of climate change on resources and livelihoods that cannot be offset by adaptation. A recent study in Regional Environmental Change analyzes L&D in the mountain cryosphere by extracting examples from existing literature on the subject and developing a conceptual approach to support future research to address the subject. L&D has become an important issue within the international climate policy realm in recent years. In the mountain cryosphere, the effects of climate change and the resultant L&D are directly evident. However, despite the visibility of these...
Read more...

The Tree on Top of the World

“But if you do know what is taught by plants and weather, you are in on the gossip and can feel truly at home. The sum of a field's forces become what we call very loosely the 'spirit of the place.' To know the spirit of a place is to realize that you are a part of a part and that the whole is made parts, each of which in a whole.” -  Gary Snyder [caption id="attachment_3019" align="alignright" width="300"] Katie busy doing fieldwork at a Polylepis tree location 5:30 AM. 3600 M. Southern Ecuador. The whisper of dawn. I sipped the bitter coffee, my frozen fingers wrapped around the mug’s heat. Around me for miles the high altitude paramo grasslands were bright with a strange light: the night’s full moon (a once-in-a-few-years-super-blue-blood-moon) was setting, and the sun, not yet up, was just beginning to shoulder its crimson way toward the horizon....
Read more...

Land Cover and Land Use Change in the Tropical Andes

[caption id="attachment_2862" align="alignright" width="225"] In a post-workshop field trip, participants learned about an ecological restoration project in the Ecuadorian Chocó (Photo: Kenneth Young) Land use trends are a main driver of environmental change. To explore patterns, future scenarios, and research agendas related to land cover and land use change in the Tropical Andes, an MRI synthesis workshop was held in Quito, Ecuador, 27-29 September 2017. The Tropical Andes represent a global biodiversity hotspot, and regulate environmental services such as watershed and soil protection that affect millions of people. Due to steep topography and frequent cloud cover, however, remote sensing analyses of land cover change in the region are limited to specific locations and time periods. To go some way towards addressing this, an MRI synthesis workshop was held in September 2017 in Quito, Ecuador, and attended by experts on different aspects of land science and ecosystem services working in the Andes...
Read more...

An All-Woman Climbing Team in the Andes

[caption id="attachment_2716" align="alignright" width="300"] Ascending Chachacomani (source: Griselda Moreno) Mujer Montaña—“Woman Mountain” in Spanish—participated in a recent project of the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation ( UIAA ), in which women climbers from Latin America and Europe carried out ascents of peaks in two mountain ranges in the Bolivian Andes. They established mountaineering records, achieving first all-female ascents and opening new routes. They met another goal as well,  promoting exchanges between people of different cultures and worldviews. And, in their distinctive way, they built awareness of mountains in the context of climate change—a key goal of the UIAA’s  Mountain Protection Award Platform , which supported the project. This post was originally posted last year on the  GlacierHub.org  by Ben Orlove. This  project , supported by a number of government agencies and tourism firms in South America and Europe, brought together the members of Mujer Montaña, a Latin American group founded in 2013,...
Read more...

The Mountains 2018 Conference

Mountains 2018 is an international conference that will bring together scholars, professionals, policy makers and others involved with multiple aspects of the mountain world. The Conference seeks to stimulate and disseminate knowledge about the topic based on lessons learned from scientific research and practical experiences related to use and challenges of promoting sustainable development in mountain territories, including how mountains can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. Mountains 2016, the first of the series, occurred in Bragança, Portugal ( http://cimo.esa.ipb.pt/mountains2016/ ). One of the outcomes of this event was the launching of the Lusophony Mountain Research Network – Lumont  ( http://cimo.esa.ipb.pt/LuMont/index.php/pt/ ) to encourage exchange among Portuguese speaking members. The establishment of this network provided additional support for Brazil to organize the next Conference. As a result, Mountains 2018 will take place, in Nova Friburgo, located in the mountain region of the state of Rio de Janeiro, on December 11 th...
Read more...

Creating ClimateWIse

[caption id="attachment_2537" align="alignleft" width="300"] Figure 1. Goat traffic on the voyage from Lima to the town of Huamantanga After a gripping five-hour drive, winding over skinny mountain roads through goat traffic, we arrive in the tiny town of Huamantanga (Fig. 1). The water that flows through this town eventually ends up in Lima, Peru, and Huamantanga is one of the first community partners to work with AquaFondo - Lima’s water fund. Like other water funds, AquaFondo works with rural communities to support watershed conservation and restoration to secure clean and ample water supplies for both up and downstream water users. It turns out the community of Huamantanga and the city of Lima have one major thing in common: they both face water shortages in the dry season. Building on the work of a local NGO, Alternativa, AquaFondo, CONDESAN, and Huamantanguinos came up with two innovative solutions. First, they’re restoring ancient pre-Incan...
Read more...

Poleka Kasue Mountain Observatory, Los Nevados Natural Park, Colombia

[caption id="attachment_2405" align="alignleft" width="300"] Lupinus alopecuroides and Senecio isabelis individuals on a steep slope in the Lupinus Valley, north face of Poleka Kasue/Santa Isabel Nevado. In the heart of the Colombian Andes lies the magical Los Nevados Natural Park, one of the few places on Earth that has the unique and fascinating páramo ecosystem. The páramo is home to a great variety of plants and wildlife, many of them endemic to this environment. Hundreds of people live in Los Nevados, thousands of tourists visit the park every year, and a million people drink from its waters in the lowlands. The overwhelming peacefulness and beauty of the park immediately enchants. Unfortunately, we have seen changes in Los Nevados that have made us question how we can preserve something we do not fully understand. We began a research initiative, the Poleka Kasue Mountain Observatory, to preserve the valuable páramo ecosystem and to make...
Read more...

A field guide that unravels the hidden secrets of the páramo

[caption id="attachment_2315" align="alignleft" width="300"] Monitoring of meteorological variables in the Quinuas River Ecohydrological Observatory. (Photo credit: Galo Carrillo-Rojas) Can you imagine transporting to a magic realm full of beauty, nature and good vibe and being able to unravel its hidden secrets? Well, in the field guide attached to this post you will be taken to a short journey through two Ecohydrological Observatories in the páramo, where a bunch of enthusiastic and motivated young researchers have overcome the struggles of the environmental conditions in these sites located at the top of the Andean mountain range to discover its most hidden secrets. These pioneer investigators have provided answers to some simple but highly relevant questions in our days, such as: How much does it rain in the páramo? How does elevation influence climate in the Andean Highlands? How much do soils and vegetation evapotranspire? What is the origin, age and fate of water...
Read more...

Newsletter subscription

Login