Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center

Hello whoever is concerned with the fate of our mountain regions worldwide!

This Blog is part of the NSF funded project Collaborative Research: Hydrologic Transformation and Human Resilience to Climate Change in the Peruvian Andes  (N° 1010132). This platform, kindly hosted in the Glacier Environmental Change Group website at the Byrd Polar Research Center, will allow us to communicate our research and outreach activities and, why not, get some feedback from you.

But first, we want to share what this project is all about:

Accelerating glacier recession in tropical highlands and in the Peruvian Andes specifically is a manifestation of global climate change that is impacting the hydrologic cycle and causing critical concern for local water resources in the Cordillera Blanca, the most glacierized region of Peru and the global tropics. Because the natural and social systems of this region in northern Peru are very dependent on glacial water resources, it is considered to be one of the most vulnerable to glacier-related water stress in the world. This vulnerability has increased recently due to a combination of multiple interlinked natural and social systemic transformations that remain largely unconstrained over different spatial scales. Over the past half-century, the discharge of the principal Pacific-draining watershed, the Santa River, has declined consistently despite an acceleration of glacier melt that is altering pro-glacial water systems. There is a critical need to understand how human resilience is being influenced by these changes and how human activities are affecting the watershed. We maintain that any effective evaluation of this problem must be through interdependent collaborative research that focuses on the coupled interaction of both natural and social systems because they form a nexus of critical explanatory factors. We seek to evaluate water use, human vulnerability, land use and land cover change, watershed dynamics, water quality, and water governance in the Santa River watershed in order to understand this new system of hydraulic governance that is emerging in the Andes and how glacial dynamics are transforming melt water rates as they rapidly recede.

As a picture is worth a thousand words, we leave you with a customized word cloud that summarizes our current  interests regarding this project

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