Tropical Andes glaciers affected by global warming
Mountain glaciers are one of the important components of the global cryosphere and they are known for their high sensitivity to changes in the climate. Generally, glaciers are formed as a result of the solid precipitation and variability is reflected from year to year.
Glaciers in the tropics cover a total of about 1,900km² and almost 98% were in the Andes between Colombia and Bolivia. Although they are small in volume, they are very important for two reasons. The main reason is that they are indicators of the trends in climate change and variability. This can be measured more appropriately in the tropical glaciers.
The second reason is that they have an important role to play in hydrology and the water resources such as irrigation, power generation and fresh water. A project was conducted by the French research institution IRD and a team of researchers from France on the tropical glaciers.
These glaciers have had a sharp decline in recent decades. The last glacial maximum occurred in this part of the Andes called the little ice age between the 17th and 18th centuries. After this period, they started retreating and in the recent years, the glaciers have moved fast at unprecedented speeds for the last three decades, losing around half their volume.
Among these, the small glaciers are more vulnerable and are disappearing at fast rates than the large ones. The consistency of the eroding has been observed in the homogeneity of the changes in the low latitude mountains in the area.