Andes mountain range loses almost half of its glaciers in 30 years, study finds

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An unprecedented study released by MapBiomas, this Friday (20), shows that almost half of the glaciers in the Andes Mountains have disappeared in the last 30 years. In practice, the size of the area increased from 2,429.38 km2 to 1,409.11 km2 in three decades.

The study was produced from a mapping of satellite images between 1985 and 2020. According to the survey, the greater volume of fires in the Amazon forest is among the main reasons for the melting of the region.

According to researchers from MapBiomas, an organization focused on environmental causes, the increase in the number of fires in the biome generated a greater release of black carbon into the atmosphere, an element that originates from the combustion of wood or fossil fuels.

“The glaciers of the tropical Andes are undergoing rapid reduction, with potential environmental, cultural and economic impacts for the entire world. And one of the reasons is the burning of forests, which generates black carbon and accelerates the retreat of glaciers when they come into contact with their surface”, explained to Efrain Turpo, an environmentalist who led the study.

The survey shows that the most affected glaciers are located at less than 5,000 meters above sea level, which in 30 years have lost almost 80.25% of their area. According to environmentalists, the acceleration was more significant from 1995 onwards, due to climate change generated by global warming.

Located in South America, the Andes is ranked as the longest mountain range in the world, in terms of length. It covers seven countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. However, it is not just these countries that will suffer from climate change in the Andes.

THE CNN , the coordinator of the MapBiomas Amazon team, Carlos Souza Jr, explained that Brazil could face “major” environmental impacts in the coming years if public policies are not adopted. But he added that the consequences of the thaw can already be seen in the country, albeit timidly.

“The populations of South America depend on the water of the Andes, both the populations that are closer and the more distant, such as Brazil. We need to implement public ecological policies for the populations that will suffer from these climate changes. We have already seen the start of isolated flooding in parts of the Brazilian Pantanal that have been impacted by melting ice,” he said.

“For the future, we may suffer major changes in the country. What can we say that will mainly affect the Pantanal. This region will lose surface water in the coming years. The glaciers are a water source for several rivers that flow in the Pantanal, this is a big problem for the fauna and flora of the region”, explained Souza.

Source: CNN Brasil

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