Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Friday, February 16, 2007

Global Warming's Next Victim: Peru

Global warming sure does produce pretty photos from distant places, pretty photos with ugly implications. The next page in the global warming scrapbook comes from Peru. While India is losing islands and Canada its ice shelfs, Peru is losing its glaciers.

A story from The Times (UK) reports the impending loss (that is, melting) of Quelccaya, the main glacier of the world’s largest tropical icecap, located in South America's Andies mountains. It is melting faster than scientists previously measured. Current prediction: Quelccaya will lose half its current mass by next year and disappear entirely by 2012, only 5 years from now.

Here is how the glacier's retreat has progressed in the past 25 years ...

But why worry about a pile of ice far off in the Andies Mountains?

Peru's glaciers feed the rivers that supply water to rural communities and cities where most of the population lives. Glaciers are vital for water supplies, essential for drinking, electricity and agriculture. No glaciers means less water, and less water means less food and more human hardship. It's a simple equation with devastating consequences.

Categories: GlobalWarming, Peru

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