Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers

2011 Edition
| Editors: Vijay P. Singh, Pratap Singh, Umesh K. Haritashya

Andean Glaciers

  • Mathias VuilleEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2642-2_20


Andean glaciers: All glaciers located in the Andes of South America.


In all Andean countries of South America, the highest peaks are covered by glaciers. These can be subdivided into tropical glaciers, located in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and northernmost Chile, and extratropical glaciers, located in central and southern Chile and Argentina. The latter also include the northern and southern Patagionian ice fields ( Patagonia, qv). While most Andean glaciers outside of Patagonia are fairly small and contain a limited amount of ice, they are nonetheless very unique and important. The tropical Andes, for example, are home to more than 99% of all tropical glaciers (Kaser, 1999) and they provide very important environmental services, such as freshwater during the dry season to downstream populations. Andean glaciers are also unique with regard to their mass and energy balance and their sensitivity to climate change ( Climate Variability and High...

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric and Environmental SciencesUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA