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Peru needs to monitor glacier loss, U.N. experts say

Published: Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A monitoring system is needed to track Peru's melting Andean glaciers, which provide fresh water to the country's coastal populations, according to U.N. experts attending a policy conference this week.

"We have spoken with Peruvian government institutions, and there is no sufficient monitoring system to tell us the current trend in glacier shrinkage and its consequences," said Anil Mishra, a UNESCO specialist in hydrological systems.

Participants at the "Impact of Glacier Retreat in the Andes" conference said the new system should monitor the state of melting ice, water supplies in glacial rivers and how downstream areas may be affected.

Over the past 35 years, Peru's glaciers have shrunk by 22 percent and the amount of fresh water reaching the coast has dropped 12 percent, according to a 2009 World Bank report.

"The scientific community and governments have got to understand what the consequences will be for river systems when the glaciers no longer exist," Mishra said (AFP/AsiaOne, June 3). -- LJ

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500


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