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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Venezuela has lost its last glacier. La Corona melted faster than expected

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La Corona melted faster than scientists expected. Only two hectares remain of it. Thus, Venezuela has already lost all its glaciers.

There were six glaciers in the Sierra Nevada de Merida mountain range, which lies about 5,000 meters above sea level in Venezuela. By 2011, five of them had melted. Only the La Corona glacier remains, located on the peak of Pico Humboldt (4,942 m above sea level), the second highest mountain in Venezuela. Initially, it was estimated that the glacier would survive for at least another decade. However, due to the complicated political situation in Venezuela, scientists were unable to monitor the melting process for several years.

According to current data reported by The Guardian on Wednesday, the glacier has melted much faster than expected. It currently covers an area of ​​less than two hectares. As a result, its classification was changed from glacier to ice field.

– Our last expedition to this area took place in December 2023. We then observed that the glacier had lost about two hectares compared to the previous expedition in 2019, when four hectares were recorded, said Luis Daniel Llambi of Adaptation at Altitude, a climate change adaptation program in the Andes.

At the beginning of the year, the Venezuelan government attempted to save the glacier. At the top there is a special cover made of polypropylene, which is used in summer to protect ski slopes. However, according to scientists, this will not bring the expected results.

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Venezuela is the first such country

“Other countries lost their glaciers many years ago after the end of the Little Ice Age, but Venezuela is probably the first country to lose all its glaciers in modern times,” noted Maximiliano Herrea, a climatologist and weather historian.

According to the specialist, the next countries that may lose their glaciers are Indonesia, Mexico and Slovenia. He noted that the Indonesian province of Papua and Mexico have experienced record high air temperatures in recent months, which may accelerate the retreat of glaciers.

Read also: These photos are a year apart. “Dramatic” situation in Switzerland

Temperature anomalies and El Nino

Experts point out that the faster rate of melting of glaciers may be influenced by the current El Nino climate phenomenon, which involves maintaining above-average high surface water temperatures in the equatorial zone of the Pacific Ocean. It affects weather conditions in different parts of the world.

As Herrera pointed out, in the Venezuelan part of the Andes there were several months in which the average monthly temperature was up to 3-4 degrees Celsius higher than the level in 1991-2020. He noted that this was a “unique phenomenon in these latitudes.”

Read also: A “super-El Nino” is underway, one of the strongest in history. In summer, conditions can change completely

The Guardian, tvnmeteo.pl

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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