Mar 6, 2012

Global Warming Harms Glaciers of Patagonia


CANCUN, Mexico – The glaciers of Patagonia, covering parts of Argentina and Chile, have suffered along with some in Alaska the major impacts of climate change have major meltdowns in recent years, said the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

A report by the agency, in the UN world conference on climate change in Cancun, said that between 1960 and 2003, the glaciers of Patagonia have been reduced by 35 meters, 25 in Alaska, and about 10 meters in Asia. “Most mountain glaciers are losing mass due to climate change,” he said. The rise in temperatures began in the 1980s, as ice is beginning to deteriorate. “The glaciers could disappear from some mountainous regions towards the end of the century, given the current rate of melting,” he said. But although the overall trend of glaciers is their reduced mass, in some areas such as western Norway, and in the Cordillera Darwin, Tierra del Fuego, there has been an increase in its size due to increased rainfall. The report warned that melting glaciers could lead to a reduce in water availability in some areas of Central Asia, Chile, Argentina and Peru, where rainfall is low.

The UN agency recommended strengthening research and international collaboration to monitor glaciers, and improve models for measuring precipitation patterns of water availability in mountain regions, particularly in Latin America and Asia. They also called for support coping mechanisms related to natural disasters.

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