A Peruvian watershed has likely passed ‘peak water,’ dropping river flows 30 percent. New lakes are draining the Himalaya, and say good-bye to Rocky Mountains’ glaciers.
SAN FRANCISCO – New data underscores the bleak prospects facing glaciers across the world as emissions continue to rise. In many instances, particularly the tropics, researchers expect the ice serving as key mountain reservoirs will disappear or severely degrade, leaving downstream communities to cope with scarce and unreliable supplies.
Exhibit A is the Andes, where the glacial runoff provides water for hundreds of thousands throughout Peru and Ecuador. Where scientists once thought the region had 10 years to 40 years to adapt to reduced runoff, that time is now up, said Michel Baraër of McGill University in Montreal.
“We have passed peak water,” he said on Wednesday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. “As a consequence, (during) the dry season, we will get lower discharge and increased variability in flow.”