The Andean country has lost 20% of its icy surface in recent years
The effects of climate change are visible in virtually any ecosystem on the planet and one of the most devastating effects is the increase in global temperature. We have been witnessing the progressive disappearance of glaciers all over the world for years and we cannot help but be surprised when we see images of the "before and now" of the diminishing icy surfaces of the Alps, the Himalayas, or the peak of Kilimanjaro.
Leer en español: El lento pero constante declive de los glaciares en Colombia
Colombia is no stranger to this problem and its scarce and well-known snowfall could have the days counted if nothing is done. Since 2010, the South American nation has seen a fifth of its ice mass disappear.
The most worrying case is the Nevado Santa Isabel volcano glacier, part of the Los Nevados National Park, which has lost 37% of its extension in just 2 years -between January 2016 and February of this year- a speed that has surprised all the experts.
Omar Franco, director of the Ideam (Institute of Hydrology Meteorology and Environmental Studies), told AFP that "at this rate the Santa Isabel will be history in less than a decade."
This organization carried out a study analyzing the situation of the Sierras del Cocuy and Santamaría, as well as the four volcanoes of the country -Ruiz, Santa Isabel, Tolima and Huila- and calculated that only 37 km² of frozen surface throughout the national territory.
If we go into more detail, we have to blame two phenomena of the disappearance of the ice mass: the low cloudiness that is recorded in the peaks and, therefore, the high solar radiation received by the snow, accelerating its melting.
The uncertainty about the Paris Agreement, signed by 193 countries in 2016 is not optimistic for future scenarios. For the Colombian environmental authorities, compliance with this protocol is essential, and this was what the Minister of Environment, Luis Gilberto Murillo, wanted to emphasize. Murillo encouraged the emitting countries to control the gases that cause the greenhouse effect.
Colombia is in serious danger of losing one of its most emblematic ecosystems, that which is part of the remarkable contrasts of what the country presumes: beaches, deserts, jungle and snowy peaks. A quartet that few nations can boast.
According to the Ideam study, glaciers worldwide have been reduced in thickness by 20 meters since 1980. Africa suffers the most critical situation since all this continent has only three: Mount Kenya (Kenya), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and the mountains Rwenzori (Uganda). Everything indicates that in a few years the little ice that is preserved will end up disappearing. Unfortunately, Colombia is suffering a similar situation.
LatinAmerican Post | José María González
Translated from “El lento pero constante declive de los glaciares en Colombia”