Posts Tagged "south america"

Roundup: GLOFs, Presidential Warnings, and Glacial Lakes

Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Roundup | 0 comments

Roundup: GLOFs, Presidential Warnings, and Glacial Lakes

Spread the News:ShareObama: Climate Change ‘Could Mean No More Glaciers In Glacier National Park,’ Statue of Liberty From Breitbart:  “During Saturday’s Weekly Address, President Obama stated, “the threat of climate change means that protecting our public lands and waters is more important than ever. Rising temperatures could mean no more glaciers in Glacier National Park. No more Joshua Trees in Joshua Tree National Park. Rising seas could destroy vital ecosystems in the Everglades, even threaten Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.” To read the full transcript of the President’s Weekly Address, click here.   Melting Glaciers Pose Threat Beyond Water Scarcity: Floods From VOA News:   “The tropical glaciers of South America are dying from soot and rising temperatures, threatening water supplies to communities that have depended on them for centuries. But experts say that the slow process measured in inches of glacial retreat per year also can lead to a sudden, dramatic tragedy. The melting of glaciers like Peru’s Pastoruri has put cities like Huaraz, located downslope from the glacier about 35 miles (55 kilometers) away, at risk from what scientists call a ‘GLOF’ — Glacial Lake Outburst Flood.” Click here to read more about the risk of glacial lake outburst floods from GlacierHub’s founder and editor, Ben Orlove.   Yukon has a new lake, thanks to a retreating glacier From CBC News:  “Yukon has lost a river, and now gained a lake, thanks to the retreating Kaskawulsh glacier. Geologists and hikers first noticed earlier this summer that the Slims River, which for centuries had delivered melt water from the glacier to Kluane Lake, had disappeared — the glacial run-off was now being sent in a different direction. Now, the level of Kluane Lake has dropped enough to turn the remote Cultus Bay, on the east side of the lake, into Cultus Lake. A narrow channel of water that once connected the bay to the larger lake is gone, exposing a wide gravel bar between the two.” To read more, click here. Spread the...

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Roundup: South American Glacial Research Efforts

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Roundup | 0 comments

Roundup: South American Glacial Research Efforts

Spread the News:ShareGlacial and Social Model of Chilean Irrigation “The model showed how external influences (globalization, climate, mountains) and complex adaptive systems (water conflicts, institutions and markets) influenced the evolution of irrigation development (the extension and emergence of novel properties) towards constructive (planned irrigation development) and destructive (climate change) futures… The model showed how external influences (globalization, climate, mountains) and complex adaptive systems (water conflicts, institutions and markets) influenced the evolution of irrigation development (the extension and emergence of novel properties) towards constructive (planned irrigation development) and destructive (climate change) futures.” Read more about the story here.   Managing Water Resources in Peru’s Glacial Catchments “Water resources in high mountains play a fundamental role for societies and ecosystems both locally and downstream…Our integrative review of water resource change and comparative discharge analysis of two gauging stations in the Santa and Vilcanota River catchments show that the future provision of water resources is a concern to regional societies and must be factored more carefully into water management policies.” Read more about the story here.   French Lead International Collaboration in Andes “The IRD [French Institut de Recherche pour le Développement] funded the international GREAT ICE (Glacier and Water Resources in the Tropical Andes: Indicators of Changes in the Environment) program in 2011 to strengthen glaciological studies in the tropical Andes; promote collaborative projects between Andean institutions in glaciology, climatology, and hydrology; and develop education and student training programs with local universities.” Read more about the story here. Spread the...

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Volcanic Eruption Leaves Dogs Stranded and Hungry

Posted by on May 7, 2015 in All Posts, Communities, Featured Posts, News | 0 comments

Volcanic Eruption Leaves Dogs Stranded and Hungry

Spread the News:ShareAs communities pick themselves up from a series of volcanic eruptions in southern Chile, stories of heartbreak and happy reunions emerge. Last week, glacier-covered Calbuco erupted three times, displacing thousands of local residents and animals. The eruptions sent ash 20 kilometers into the air, according to the BBC,  and triggered a series of mudslides, which followed the melting of glaciers and recent rainfall in the region. Hundreds of families were forced to leave behind their pets and efforts have since been launched to rescue lost animal companions. Many zones were deemed unsafe and families were unable to return, but in some cases, there have been happy reunions. “Our government’s commitment is not only to be concerned, but to actively meet the needs [of communities], so that they can return and resume normal life as soon as possible,” Chile’s president Michele Bachelet said at a press event. Some families are gradually returning to their towns to inspect the damage and see if anything can be salvaged. Residents are documenting their experiences on video and social media. One such video, shot in Ensenada by Claudio Domingo Hernandez Matamala and viewed more than 200,000 times on Facebook, shows an emotional reunion between one abandoned pet and his worried owners. The dog sustained some minor burns on his back but was otherwise alive and well. Watch the reunion here: Calbuco: mirá el emotivo reencuentro de una mujer y su mascota http://t.co/Gho4rp9dp8 — La Gaceta Salta (@LaGacetaSalta) May 2, 2015 Other reports haven’t been as joyous. Feral dogs attacked and killed five sheep evacuated from exclusion zones surrounding the Calbuco volcano. The local government has taken measures to protect animals and keep them in trailers away from dangerous dogs, but many animals are still stranded near volcanic activity. Officials say they are uncertain about how much livestock has died from inhaling volcanic ash, though reports suggest some have died from contaminated water. But not all dogs have taken to attacking livestock in their hunger. One dog, now nicknamed “Ceniza” or “ash,” was adopted by the military after contributing to rescue efforts. Ceniza boosts the moral of troops as they work to rebuild communities. Perro callejero ayuda a militares en labores de rescate tras erupción del volcán Calbuco Chile http://t.co/L0XdZdfsuG pic.twitter.com/6oip8f1Agv — Mario (@marioriverosr) April 29, 2015 Meanwhile, locals are scrambling to clean out the ash that covers their towns. There are concerns that the ash will hurt crops and take a toll on residents’ livelihoods. “Now we have to think about the future,” Piedro Gonzáles, a resident of Ensenada, told Agence France-Presse. “We hope that in two months Ensenada can returnto normal. But it depends on whether the volcano can leave us alone.”     Spread the...

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Indigenous Livelihoods at Bolivia’s Highest Mountain

Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Adaptation, All Posts, Communities, Featured Posts | 0 comments

Indigenous Livelihoods at Bolivia’s Highest Mountain

Spread the News:ShareA new study conducted at Sajama, the highest mountain in Bolivia, shows that local indigenous populations have been able to adapt to the changes in water resources that result from glacier retreat. Other environmental changes, as well as shifting economic and political circumstances, have also shaped their responses. Villarroel and her coauthors describe the area in detail in their recent paper in the journal “Mountain Research and Development.” With an elevation of 6542 meters, Sajama, an extinct volcanic cone, rises more than two kilometers above the surrounding plains, known as the altiplano. Precipitation is concentrated in a short rainy season in this semi-arid region. The vegetation varies with elevation and topography, with large areas of grassland, sections with shrubs, and some wetlands, which are concentrated along the streams that are fed by glacial melt and groundwater from the mountain. Though the wetlands are relatively small in area, they have great economic and ecological importance, because the herbs, sedges and grasses that grow in them remain green throughout the year. The indigenous Aymara of the altiplano have long practiced livelihoods that are suited to this environment, centered on the raising of alpacas, a native ruminant that was domesticated millennia ago in the Andes. They carefully maintain irrigation channels that distribute water from the streams, expanding wetland areas. Though profoundly influenced by Spanish colonial rule and by the policies of the national governments of Bolivia, the Aymara have a high degree of self-government, in which communities govern the affairs of the many hamlets that compose them, through structures of customary leaders and assemblies. These communities gained recognition in the 1950s, and received additional support in the 1990s through constitutional reforms and the creation of a national council of indigenous communities. Villarroel and her coauthors have traced the shifting patterns of water use and alpaca herding through “rights mapping methodology,” integrating the methods of the Nobel prizewinner Elinor Ostrom for studying natural resource management with participatory mapping based on Google Earth images. They found that the Aymara communities around Sajama had for decades practiced communal grazing. Households had free access to the community’s grasslands, which provide grazing during the rainy season. They also were able to graze their animals on the wetlands associated with their hamlets. Pasture has become a scarce resource in the last two or three decades, as the water supply in streams has decreased because of glacier retreat. The population of the communities has also grown, increasing demand for pasture. Overgrazing had become a problem. In response, the communities shifted to delimiting grassland areas to which particular households have access, and individual hamlets have fenced off the wetlands. In this way, they can better limit the number of alpacas that graze in any area. They also organize meetings between hamlets and between communities to resolve disputes over access to water from streams. In addition, many households now purchase alfalfa and barley, trucked in from moister regions of Bolivia, to use as supplementary fodder. A number of the men leave the region for several months a year, earning wages to pay for this fodder. The Sajama National Park has also influenced the response to water scarcity. Founded in 1939 as Bolivia’s first national park, it began active conservation management only in 1995, virtually eliminating alpaca grazing in the higher grasslands, and reducing hunting as well. These restrictions have led to the growth of populations of pumas and foxes, predators of the alpacas, and have brought about a resurgence of the vicuña, which had become locally endangered. The loss of access to this area has placed further pressure on the...

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As Peru’s Glacier Vanish, Villagers Appeal To The Gods

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in All Posts, Communities, Featured Posts | 0 comments

As Peru’s Glacier Vanish, Villagers Appeal To The Gods

Spread the News:ShareIn October 2011, while I was conducting ethnographic research on water and climate change in southern Peru’s Colca Valley, I was invited to join the villagers of Pinchollo on a hike up to the point at the foot of a glacier where meltwater starts flowing down towards the village. There, we offered a gift to the mountain lord Hualca Hualca, whom they regard as a living and powerful being. The gift contained dried alpaca fetuses, llama fat, maize, coca leaves, sweets, fruit, flowers, wine and chicha, a kind of maize beer. As the leader of the village irrigation group presented these gifts, he asked Hualca Hualca to not forget the people, to give them more water and to protect the village. At that moment, a large chunk of ice fell down. The villagers understood this to mean that Hualca Hualca was pleased with the gift and was saying to them, ‘Look, here is the water!’ Rising 6,025 meters above sea level in the southern Peruvian Andes, Mount Hualca Hualca provides several villages in the Colca Valley with glacial meltwater for irrigation and human consumption. In the village of Pinchollo, about sixty percent of the fields are irrigated with water from Hualca Hualca. During the last couple of decades, however, villagers have been increasingly noticing glacial shrinkage and decreasing water levels in the springs, which are fed by rainwater and meltwater. Several mountain springs have dried up completely during the last few years. Local people are starting to blame global warming, as they frame water scarcity in new narratives that are promoted by national and international NGOs and governmental agencies. Moreover, though water is scarcer, the flow of the meltwater is stronger when it does occur, destroying the canals and eroding the soil. Hence, the water flows downvalley rather than being used for irrigation. The villagers are concerned that the water will be wasted as it flows down into the Pacific Ocean. One of the elderly peasant farmers in Pinchollo expressed his concern about Hualca Hualca in this way: “In August and September there is a strong flow that starts in the glacier, it is the meltwater. The white snow can no longer be seen after September. There is less ice than before. […] If the glacier disappears, there is no life anymore; there is no village anymore. The mountain supports us. Who will contain the thaw? Earlier the snow of Hualca Hualca reached the foot of the mountain. Now there is little snow.” Living with the highly unpredictable weather in the semi-arid Andean mountain environment, the peasant farmers are dependent on water and the administration of it, including modern institutions of water management as well as various other-than-human beings like the mountain lord to whom we made an offering. Today, global warming produces effects on temperature, precipitation, seasonality, glacier retreat and water supply. The dwindling resources lead to new uncertainties about the future. Peru contains seventy percent of the world’s tropical glaciers, which are the most visible indicators of climate change due to their sensitivity to increased temperatures and the visibility of their shrinkage. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there has been a 22 percent reduction of the total glacier area in Peru during the last 35 years, and a reduction of up to 80 percent of glacier surface from very small glaciers the last 30 years. For the peasant farmers in Colca Valley, climate change is not something that may happen in the future but is an immediate, lived reality that they struggle to apprehend, negotiate, and respond to. The valley is...

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