Sixty-three percent of the glacial area of the tropical Andes, covering parts of Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, has been lost during the last half century due to climate change, experts said Monday in Bogota. The data was released in the presentation of the conclusions of the program «Monitoring Andean tropical glaciers in a context of climate change,» which was financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The data was released in the presentation of the conclusions of the program «Monitoring Andean tropical glaciers in a context of climate change,» which was financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
«In the last 50 years, 63% of the glacial area has been lost in the tropical Andes, within which Colombia has 37 square kilometers of glacial mass,» said the director of the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies of Colombia (Ideam ), Omar Franco.
According to the official, of the perpetual snow of the Colombian Andes is lost annually between 3% and 5% «and it is presumed that between 30 and 40 years will be extinguished altogether».
The official also pointed out that 99% of the world’s tropical glaciers are in the Andes and Colombia owns 2% of those glaciers.
Franco emphasized the situation of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in the Caribbean department of Magdalena, which has lost «92% of its area (glacial) in the last century and a half.»
«Of the 6.7 square kilometers of glacier in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta has lost 5.5% in the last year and is presumed to be extinct in 30 years,» he added.
In the «Monitoring of Andean tropical glaciers in a context of climate change», made during the last two years, the IDB invested 1.5 million dollars.
In addition to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the regions of Carihuayrazo, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in Ecuador, the Central Cordillera in Peru and the Ulla Khaya Glacier in the Apolobamba Cordillera in Bolivia were studied along the project.
The objective of the initiative was to consolidate one of the «most important global monitoring, reporting and verification of glacial activity» networks in order to document the process of retreat that the giants have experienced due to climate change in the four countries included in the project.
The entities that participated in the program were the NGO Conservation International of Colombia, Ideam, the Ministry of Environment and Water of Bolivia, the National Institute of Meteorology in Hydrology of Ecuador (INAMHI) and the National Water Authority of Peru (ANA) .