Status of cryospheric observations
in South America
Gino Casassa
Geoestudios &
University of Magallanes
Chile
GLOBAL CYOSPHERE WATCH
GCW
Latin American Cryosphere
• “White” Glaciers: National Agencies, GTNH,
Research Institutions
<GLOFs - jokulhlaups, glacier slides, ice avalanches>
• Rock Glaciers: Mining companies, Research
Institutions, National Agencies (starting)
• Permafrost: Mining companies, Research
Institutions (Darío Trombotto, IANIGLA, Mendoza)
• Snow Hydrology: National Agencies, Research
Institutions, Water & Hydroelectric Companies
• Snow Avalanches: National Agencies, Research
Institutions, Mining companies
• Lake & River Ice: No active research/monitoring
RECENT INCREASE OF ENVIRONMENTAL
REGULATIONS RELATED TO GLACIERS
 2006. CHILE FREEZES GLACIER LAW.
 2009. CHILE approves “Glacier Policy”, with a glacier
definition that has no lower limit on size, and which accepts
a glacier as an ice mass having no flow.
• Even small snowfields can now be considered as glaciers.
 2010. CHILE modifies Environmental Impact Assessment
(EIA) law, now includes glaciers.
 2012. ARGENTINA approves Glacier Law, includes as well
“periglacial environment with hydrological significance”.
 2013. CHILE. Changes to EIA. Glacier drilling now needed.
Schwikowski et al., 2004
Francou et al., 2013
A) “WHITE” GLACIERS
“Clean Glacier”: all surface debris free.
Glaciar
Olivares
Alfa
Glaciar
del Paine Grande,
Magallanes
Glaciar Olivares
Gama,
sub-subcuenca
Olivares.
“Covered Glacier”: partly covered by
debris.
Glaciar San Francisco, subcuenca Alto Maipo.
Geoestudios, 2013
ROCK GLACIER
Flujo
Glaciar Pedregoso, cuenca Río Aconcagua
Geoestudios, 2013
Zanja de exploración en glaciar Monolito, que fluye
de derecha a izquierda. Bandas oscuras en el hielo
son planos de cizalle en la Zona de Ablación (zona
de compresión).
 Cubierta de detritos: Espesor 0,3 a 3,3 m de
gravas angulosas. Conductividad térmica 0,20 a
0,26 (media 0,217) W/mK
 Núcleo de hielo: Espesor >40 m. 78% a 82%
promedio de hielo, resto detritos rocosos,
principalmente en bandas.
Morrena basal: 50% hielo, 50% detritos
rocosos. Espesor, algunos metros.
GLACIERS IN SOUTH AMERICA: ~28,000 km2
(~10% of all mountain glaciers)
*excluding glaciers in Antarctic Peninsula & Greenland
PATAGONIAN ICEFIELDS: NPI ~4,000 km2; SPI ~12,500 km2.
TOTAL ~16,500 km2, ~60% in area of all South American glaciers
area
Global Glacier Changes: facts and figures, UNEP-WGMS, 2009
GLACIERS in SOUTH AMERICA
A re a
R e g io n (s)
C o untry
2
(km )
V enezu ela
Sierra N evada de M érida
0 .1
C o lo m bia
3 C o rdilleras
48
E cu ado r
C o rdillera O ccidental and O riental
3 9 .6 1
P eru
2 0 C o rdilleras
2 ,5 9 6
B o livia
7 C o rdilleras
566
C hile
N o rthern P atago nia Icefield (N P I)
3 ,9 5 3
C hile/Argentina
So u thern P atago nia Icefield (SP I)
1 2 ,5 0 0
C hile
N o rth, central, so u thern C hile,
7 ,3 6 5
P atago nia o ther than N P I & SP I, Tierra
del F u ego
Argentina
N o rth, central, so u thern Argentina,
2 ,0 0 0
P atago nia (o ther than SP I)
Argentina
Tierra del F u ego
TO TA L
P R E V IO U SLY 2 9 ,3 4 7 km
1 9 .6
2
2 9 ,0 8 7
Casassa, VICC 2010
Bahr et al. (1997): V = 0,025*A^γ
where
A: Area
V: volume
γ = 1.37 for valley glaciers
γ = 1.25 for ice caps
C o untr y
G LA C IE R S IC E C A P S
km
2
km
V O LU M E
2
km
V O LU M E
3
km
Ve n e zu e la
0.1
0
C o lo m b ia
48.0
5
E cuador
39.6
4
2,596.0
1,190
566.0
148
P e ru
B o liv ia
C h ile
C h ile /A rge n tin a
3,953.0 N PI
784
12,500.0 SPI
3,304
C h ile
4,076.0
A rge n tin a
2,000.0
832
A rge n tin a
19.6
1
TO TA L
9,345.3
3
3,289.0 C D I, ISI, IH
19,742.0
29,087.3
623
2,180
4,711
6,891 km
3
17 m m slr
Casassa, VICC 2010
http://www.geofisica.unam.mx/popoc/colaboracion/GTN
H/
• México: only 2 mountains are glacier-covered, with
a reduction of more than 20% in the last 50 years
• Venezuela: 87% glacier loss during the last 50
years
• Colombia: 2-5% annual retreat during the last 10
years
• Ecuador: glacier reduction of 27% in 1997-2006
• Peru, Cordillera Blanca: in 1970-2008 glacier
reduction >26%
• Chile & Argentina, northern sector: starting in 1980
glaciers (monitored since 1970) have incremented
their retreat; glaciers in central and southern Chile
and Argentina are losing ice, many times in an
accelerated rate, with only a few cases of stable &
advancing glaciers
10th Meeting Latin American Snow and Ice Working Group UNESCO IHP
14-18 November 2011, , Mérida, Venezuela
2012: NOVEMBER MEETING OF GTNH in CUZCO, Peru
2013: QUITO, Ecuador
Francou et al., 2013
CHILE
CHILE
SNOW ROUTES
North of Chile
Pascua Lama
Carrasco et al., 2005
Gerd Dercon
Laboratory Head, Soil and Water Management & Crop
Nutrition Laboratory, Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear
Techniques in Food and Agriculture (Technical Officer)
BENCHMARK SITES
STATION/HUT SUBGREY,
TORRES DEL PAINE
NATIONAL PARK
Takk fy
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Status of cryospheric observations in South America