Quilca Mountain’s snow-covered peak has completely melted away: climate change blamed

Just two years after residents and local authorities first sounded the alarm, climate change is being blamed for the complete disappearance of Quilca Mountain’s snow cap, state news agency Andina reported Monday.

“There is no snow left,” said Omar Velásquez, an administrative irrigation technician employed by the San Román Agrarian Agency, located in the highland department of Puno. “Global warming has accelerated the snow’s melting process to the point of losing it all, it has completely melted away.”

According to Velásquez, the snow began to melt at an accelerated pace approximately two years ago.

In 2007, during a monitoring expedition, Velásquez and his team hiked to the edge of Quilca Mountain’s snow cap, and planted a marker. When they returned, in 2008, not only had the snow receded, but it had completely disappeared.

“Though there aren’t any precise measurements,” said Velásquez, “the photographs are forceful.”

The lack of snow atop Quilca Mountain is likely to cause water shortages in the region, especially for populations living around the mountain.

In Peru, home to 70 percent of Earth’s tropical glaciers, water is a dire issue. The country’s glaciers, which feed hydroelectric plants and provide drinking water to Lima, the world’s second largest desert city after Cairo, Egypt, are in the process of accelerated meltdown due to global warming.

According to Peru’s National Resources Institute, or Inrena, the Andes Mountains have lost at least 22 percent of their glacier area since 1970.

Last May, Irena’s Glaciological Unit reported that the Broggi Glacier, located atop Cordillera Blanca — the largest glacier chain in the tropics – had completely disappeared.

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