The 2015/16 El Niño-related glacier changes in the tropical Andes
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Significant changes in the area and snowline altitude of two glacierized mountains – Nevado Champara (Cordillera Blanca, Peru) and Cerro Tilata (Cordillera Real, Bolivia) – in the tropical Andes, before and after the recent El Niño in 2015/16 period, have been analysed using Sentinel 2A and Landsat data. It is seen that the recent El Niño has been accompanied by higher fluctuation in glacier coverage on Nevado Champara and the loss of glacier coverage on Cerro Tilata was very high during the past 16 years. Rise in snowline altitude of selected glaciers was very high after the 2015/16 El Niño. Increase in the area covered by snow and ice during the La Niña periods were not enough to cover the ice loss occurred during the previous El Niño events and the strongest El Niño in 2015/16 was followed by a significant loss of ice-covered areas in the tropical Andes. Freshwater resources in this region will be affected in the near future if the current trends in glacier decline continue. Adaptation strategies needs to be implemented to reduce the impacts of the continuing loss of glacierized on regional communities in the tropical Andean region.
KeywordsENSO tropical Andes glacier loss snowline altitude Sentinel 2A
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Authors acknowledge Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul–FAPERGS (processo: 17/2551-0000518-0), Brazil, for research support.
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