The retreat of glaciers , cause of water scarcity

The retreat of glaciers , cause of water scarcity

 National Geographic Magazine

The mountain glaciers are shrinking as cause of global warming. Scientists at the American Geophysical Union have claimed at a meeting in San Francisco that the process is faster than initially believed. The great glaciers of the Canadian region of St. Elias , which currently include 453 cubic kilometers , will be reduced by half in 2100 . South America, with its high mountains and tropical climate, is particularly vulnerable to climate change, so the next step is to focus our attention on Peru , Bolivia and northern Chile, to find out if there is taking the same phenomenon.

It is known that mountain glaciers are shrinking as cause of global warming. However, Scientists at the American Geophysical Union have claimed at a meeting in San Francisco that the process is faster than initially believed.

Garry Clarke , professor emeritus of glaciology at the University of British Columbia in Canada , said the largest glaciers in the Canadian region of St. Elias , which currently include 453 cubic kilometers , will be reduced by half in 2100 . In areas of the Canadian Rockies some glaciers completely disappear and others will be reduced from 5-20 percent of its current size. We believe that the next century will witness the disappearance the most of the glaciers in western North America .

Another discouraging data comes from the Himalayan region , where Ulyana Horodyskyj , PhD student Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (University of Colorado) , is dedicated to the observation of supraglacial lakes ( ponds that appear on the surface of glaciers ) . Almost all thought that glaciers retreat , he says, but also shrink vertically. These lakes may favor the melt, and many are forming in the Himalayas … They are like a cancer on the glaciers.
Glaciers act as natural reservoirs , storing water in winter and releasing it in summer as the ice melts. If the glaciers disappear , the consequences for the majority of these regions would be terrible , Clarke said : it would change the flow of current , temperature , etc. .

Change to the total volume of water added Michel Baraer of McGill University in Montreal , Canada, because the ice keeps the water so it does not evaporate. Thus, although rainfall remain in the mountains , there will be more liquid water , which evaporates quickly. The construction of dams also would not end the problem. Evaporation in the deposits is higher than the sublimation ( change from solid to gaseous state ) on glaciers , “said Baraer . Levees can not never replace natural water systems that we have today.

Although scientists believed that the problem would arise in several decades , according to Baraer , Peru is about to suffer the consequences of water scarcity because one of the major rivers from the glaciers of the Andes , the Santa River, and receives less water. Based on satellite measurements , the team determined that the river has already reached the point where the flow has stabilized and begins to decrease. This means that instead of having ten, twenty or thirty years ahead to find a solution , we have nothing , he said. and this is just the beginning. South America, with its high mountains and tropical climate, is particularly vulnerable to climate change, so the next step is to focus our attention on  Peru , Bolivia and northern Chile, to find out if there is taking the same phenomenon.

http://www.nationalgeographic.es/noticias/medio-ambiente/calentamiento-global/1112-melting-glaciers-mean-double-trouble-for-water-supplies

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