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Event Details

Glacier Melting event report

Category: Glacier Melting
Observation: 10.08.2009
Continent: South-America
Country: Bolivia
State:
Area: Chacaltaya Glacier
Location:
Severity: Hight
Event details
The 18,000 year old Chacaltaya Glacier has disappeared as the temperature has warmed up. It was predicted but has come sooner than expected. The accelerated meltdown began in the mid-1980s and scientists predicted its complete disappearance in 2015. However the rate of thaw has tripled in the last 10 years and so speeded up the melting of the Andean glacier. The glacier had the world’s highest ski area but it closed several years ago as the ice and snow melted. 2 decades ago skiers from all round the world would travel to the area to ski down the world's highest ski run. We reported on this earlier in the year here at PlanetSKI and told the fascinating story of the resort's construction and development. However, the loss of the glacier has far greater significance than the end of skiing in Bolivia as the glacier’s melt water helped power hydro-electric plants and provide water supplies to the 2 million residents of the Bolivian capital, La Paz. The Chacaltaya is part of Bolivia's Tuni Condoriri glaciated mountain system. The whole cluster has shed more than a third of its ice mass since 1983. It’s predicted that Tuni and Condoriri, the two largest glaciers, will be gone within 20 to 30 years. Across the Andes the glaciers are melting at an alarming rate and The World Bank warned earlier this year that many of the Andes' tropical glaciers will disappear within 20 years. This, the bank said, would both threaten the water supplies of nearly 80 million people living in the region, and jeopardise the future generation of hydropower.
Event map:
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