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Huaytapallana recovery ~ a spot of good news on Peru’s melting glacier front

Peru's Huaytapallana glacier undergoes apparent recovery cycle, reportedly regaining 18 kilometers of ice mass during two-year period. There was some surprisingly good news reported today at the intersection of global warming, tourism and the accelerated melt of Peru’s glaciers.

Daily Correo reported that Huaytapallana — the 5,236 meter high glacial cap, which had lost 50 percent of its surface area between 1986 and 2006 — appears to be regaining ice mass… a lot of ice mass.

José Quispe Vera, head of conservation in the Junin regional government, told Correo that a recent assessment conducted between 2010 and 2012, shows that the snow is going through a recovery cycle, and to date the glacier mass increased 18 kilometers.

“This is encouraging, but the preservation work must continue,” Quispe Vera reportedly said.

Quispe Vera said decreasing pollution on Huaytapallana has helped stem the melt. Authorities have banned tourist access above the ice line, especially during national holidays, when Peruvian and foreign trekkers flock to the trails leading to Huaytapallana.

“Visitors often bring liquor, food and sheets of plastic to slide on the snow, but the problem is when that is left there lying as waste,” Quispe Vera said. “As a result, it accelerates the process of deglaciation.”

Background

  • 71% of the tropical glaciers of the world are located in Peru
  • The glaciers retreat in the Andean Tropics has intensified since the end of the 1970s
  • In the last 30 years, Peru has lost 22% of glacier surface area = 12,000 millions of cubic meters of water
  • Glaciers under 5,000 masl could disappear in the next decade. Scenarios show that water availability in 2030 will decrease by 6% along Peru’s Pacific coast, where about 70 percent of Peru’s population lives.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Posted July 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Unlikely, unless there has been a complete recalculation of the amount of glacier loss since the 1970s (estimated by the IGP at 60% between 1976 and 2006). First, glacier size is measured in area (sq km), not kilometers, and second, local authorities can’t take action to stop the main cause of glacial retreat (warming temperatures), although the Correo story says, “Alarmed by this indicator, the appropriate institutions took measures to preserve our mountain range, and today much of it has recovered.” I’d suggest that either the reporter didn’t understand the topic or didn’t ask the right questions.

  2. Fertur Peru Travel
    Posted July 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Awe well. That’s what I was afraid of. Could you share that insight on the PT Facebook page? It would be helpful to set the record straight.

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