Global Warming & Climate Change: The Phenomenon

A

Anonymous

Guest
The myth of Global Warming

There follows an abridged version of an article in Sept 2001 edition of the Chemical Engineer. It is written by Philip Stott, professor of biogeography in the University of London.

"I believe the Kyoto Protocol is bad for science, for economics, for politics and for society in the widest sense. The idea that we can control, in any predictable manner, climate change through the management of one tiny set of variables, namely human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, is so fundamental a lie that it beggars belief.

"Climate is the ultimate coupled non-linear chaotic system. Unsurprisingly, our general circulation models remain intrinsically simplistic, with even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admiting publicly that it knows next-to-nothing about 75% of the major proxy variables involved.

"It is deeply alarming that a whole series of recently published heavyweight scientific papers questioning both the relationship between CO2 and temperature and the data/modelling underlying the concept of global warming have been basically ignored by the UK and European media. These scientific papers are found in major journals such as Nature, Climate Research, and the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, and involve institutions of the highest scientific distinction, inclusing NASA, the Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of the Ruhr/Ottawa-Carlton Geoscience Centre, Harvard University, the Smithsonian, and Stanford University. Yet, despite their undoubted scientific legitimacy, the papers have received scant public attention, above all because they do not support and legitimise the socially-constructed myth of global warming. I have tried to persuade environmental correspondents to report such work, only to be met with incredulity that such science might even exist.

"One critical focus has been on the role of that most important 'greenhouse gas' of all, water vapour (not CO2), and on the palaeo-geological relationships between water vapour, CO2 and temperature. Jan Veizer's work, for example, is widely regarded as magisterial in its decoupling of temperature from CO2, so much so that one editorial commentary written for the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change regards his work as creating a crisis in the global warming myth.

"A second focus has been on the many missing, or little-known, variables in the IPCC and other climate models, including newly discovered 'Pacific' vents...If confirmed...this effect alone, which is not recognised in current climate models, could significantly reduce estimates of future climate warming. Another neglected variable is particulates. New work on black carbon and aerosols was reported in the US, but hardly at all in Europe, yet may be responsible for 15-30% of global warming, although it is not even considered in any of the discussions about controlling climate change.

"A third focus has been on the need to correct many temperature measurements, especially those taken over oceans...Studies have demonstrated that, when scientists take proxy sea-surface temperatures out of the global temperature record for the past 20+ years, and replace them with air temperature data gathered more accurately by ships and buoys, the global warming trend...drops markedly by about one third. Other scientists argue that land temperature measurements and records are equally flawed, reflecting primarily the process of urbanisation and the well-documented 'urban heat island' effect rather than any significant rise in global temperatures.

"Climate is governed by a billion variables and it is intrinsically chaotic. These variables range from the flip of a butterfly's wing, through the changing albeldo of the earth's surface, erupting volcanoes, shifting ocean currents, waves and salinity, the dynamic geometry and cycles of the earth and the sun, the ever-changing mix of gases 'natural' and 'man-made', to planetary dust and meteors. The grand narrative that we can ultimately affect or 'control' climate change in any meaningfully predictive way simply by playing about with one or two politically selected variables has to be challenged publicly.

"Even if all 180 countries ratfied the protocol and then actually met their targets - a highly unlikely scenario - we still might only affect temperature by between 0.07 and 0.2 degC, and even this could be thrown out by a couple of erupting volcanoes or altering landscape albedos.

"According to recent models, implementing Kyoto will cost anywhere between $100bn and $1000bn, with a mean around $350bn. Now that amount of money could pay off the debt of the 49 poorest countries of the world and provide clean drinking water for all."

In a letter in the following edition of The Chemical Engineer, a reader quoted Kirchhoff's Law:
"At a given temperature the ratio of the emissivity to the absorptivity for a given wavelength is the same for all gases and is equal to the emissivity of an ideal black body at that temperature and wavelength. Or in layman's terms, there is no such thing as a greenhouse gas."

Discuss!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
When I was in high school in the early 70's,they said greenhouse gasses would cause a new Ice Age.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Very interesting DD, I'll be looking to see what the various periodicals have said about this.

Indeed, there is much controversy about Global Warming. This is why research must continue. And in the meantime, reduce industrial emissions. Why? becuase Global warming (or cooling, or whatver) is not their only effect. They change local air quality, release heavy metals, and generally damage the local habitat. And it may seem obvious, but all life on Earth consits of various local habitats.

Also, Philip Stott is professor of biogeography, a facinating dicipline, but not climatology (on the other hand, I am neither... yet :rolleyes: ) Despite the chaotic nature of the atmosphere some models have been produced which although much simpler than reality, are effective to a degree. Then theres also the blindingly obvious fact that with such a chaotic system the last thing you want to do is bung in a wildcard like industrial emissions. We don't know what the results will be, but we're going to find out if we're not carefull...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
It doesn't matter if you throw in a wildcard, if you have no idea which cards you have in the first place.

And just how effective are the climate models, when they can't even simulate past climate properly. Look at the papers that has been published on global waming through the decade. You will find that the temp we were going to have in a 100 years have kept going down. Reality simply didn't care about their models.
 

harlequin2005

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 3, 2001
Messages
824
Reaction score
9
Points
49
Xanatic said:
It doesn't matter if you throw in a wildcard, if you have no idea which cards you have in the first place.

And just how effective are the climate models, when they can't even simulate past climate properly. Look at the papers that has been published on global waming through the decade. You will find that the temp we were going to have in a 100 years have kept going down. Reality simply didn't care about their models.
On topic comment:-

the models that have used increased/increasing levels of green-house gases have yeilded Frozen earth and hell planet with about equal frequency, hence the number of conflicting reports. Basically you pays your money and you takes your choice. Like so many things, it all boils down to an act of faith.

8¬)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Xanatic said:
It doesn't matter if you throw in a wildcard, if you have no idea which cards you have in the first place.
Uhh... yes it does? They're there, even if we don't know about them.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Well, I don't think the guy is saying global warming isn't happening. Just that we have no real reason to believe we caused it.
 

harlequin2005

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 3, 2001
Messages
824
Reaction score
9
Points
49
From the dpeths of memory... wasn't the average temperature of the planet actually higher than it is now, a few million years ago?

8¬)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
You don't have to go back millions of years. Sometimes you hear people go "This is the warmest decade in the last thousand years" which of course means that Earth is going towards a scorched hell. Unless you give it a bit more thought, and realise this means it was just as warm a thousand years ago. If you look at a graph of the Earth's climate over the last 2000 years, you will se something interesting. The average temperature is higher than it is now(Which is why Greenland was green), but then around year 1000 it starts to go down. It reaches a minimum at around 1400(Around when we started measuring temperatures and doing meterology). Then we have some time where it is very cold(Which is why the Thames froze over) and it then starts to heat up again. And then people starts to think it must mean we humans are burning the Earth because of the industrial revolution. Even though the heat graph fits so well with a graph of solar spots.
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,242
Reaction score
9,039
Points
284
There were about ten threads I could have posted this one in, but this one seems appropriate:

A US researcher suggests that climate change may be down in part to changes in the Sun's magnetic activity (not its radiation output).
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Try looking at a heat graph for the last 5000 years and tell me what you see.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Try looking at a heat graph for the last 5000 years and tell me what you see.
Is it like a butterfly?

On Thread:
People say look at the effect natural events have on the carbon cycle, why worry. The thing is, it's not either, or. The effects of natural and man-made greenhouse gas emissions are cumulative!

I heard an American scientist, on BBC World Radio, yesterday, mention that the CO2 released by log fires, burnt in President Mackinlay's Whitehouse hearth, is mostly still in the atmosphere. The carbon cycle is very slow moving.
 

intaglio

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Oct 14, 2001
Messages
1,592
Reaction score
26
Points
69
Another New scientist report puts Sahel droughts down to 1st world pollution - Sulphate polution in this casefollow this link for the full article
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
London will feel the heat as climate changes

London will feel the heat as climate changes
By Michael McCarthy Environment Editor
25 October 2002

London will feel the heat as climate changes

It's getting warmer - just look at the frogs
Underground trains hot beyond bearing, working conditions constantly uncomfortable, air pollution in the streets steadily worsening and flooding that devastates housing and transport – such may be life in London during the coming century, a conference on climate change and the capital was told yesterday.

All of the possible consequences of global warming may affect London in a more severe way, speakers told the conference, because of the "urban heat island" effect – the rise in temperature caused by thousands of homes and businesses in close proximity.

Furthermore, its position on the edge of the Thames estuary makes the capital vulnerable to sea-level rises, with £80bn worth of land and property at risk – nearly a 10th of the national assets.

A study on the likely impact of climate change on London was launched at the conference, which was held at City Hall, the Greater London Assembly building, and addressed by the Mayor, Ken Livingstone, and the Environment Minister, Michael Meacher.

Mr Meacher painted a stark picture. "Climate change could be a particular problem for London because of urban heat island effect," he said. "London is five to six degrees warmer than its rural surroundings on summer nights, and climate change will certainly intensify this effect.

"By the end of the century, summers could be as hot as those of present-day New York, and buildings could become uncomfortable to live and work in. We could experience some very, very high temperatures in the London underground, where it has already reached 40C on one occasion."

Extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, storm surges and heavy spells of rain would become more frequent, Mr Meacher said. "During a rainstorm in August this year over an inch of rain fell on London in a half-hour period, leading to closure of five of the capital's mainline railway stations. That's just one example and, I repeat, we are at the beginning of a rising curve."

Climate change was also increasing the flood risk to London from storm surges and sea-level rise, Mr Meacher said. "The city has a far greater potential for damage from flooding than any other urban area in the UK."

Last year, the Thames barrier was closed 13 times, the greatest number of closures in its 18-year record. The Environment Agency had estimated that an additional £4bn will need to be invested over the next 40 years to protect London from rising sea levels.

The urban heat island effect might mean poorer health and comfort in the capital, a greater demand for cooling, and poorer air quality, Dr Rob Wilby of King's College London said. It might also affect wildlife, and some species – such as the rosy-ringed parakeet breeding in some London parks – might do well.

The weather patterns to be expected in summer, with high pressure systems giving more sunshine and lower wind speed, would exacerbate the poor air quality problems, Dr Wilby said.

Jim Kersey of the environmental consultancy Entec said the rise in temperatures could mean workplaces will be uncomfortable for a quarter of the capital's population by 2050. There could be some benefits for tourism and leisure, with a growth in pavement café culture. "But, in general, the effect on society will be more negative than positive," Mr Kersey said.

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/environment/story.jsp?story=345661

Jungle Time:spinning
sakina
 

filcee

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
516
Reaction score
6
Points
49
Global Warming

I was under the impression that global warming would alter the course of the Gulf Stream, thereby relieving Britain of it's heat source and make us a colder country?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Re: Global Warming

Typical scaremongering based on selective evidence.

It is at least as likely that the North Atlantic Drift will falter or even stop altogether, plunging Britain and NW Europe into another 'Little Ice Age'.

The fact is that we cannot predict what the weather will be like next week. We certainly can't predict what it will be like in years or decades to come.
 

The late Pete Younger

Venerable and Missed
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jul 31, 2001
Messages
5,885
Reaction score
150
Points
129
Global warming warning.

In case anyone missed it, today was the hottest day ever....

As Britons made the most of the hottest day on record they were warned the UK cannot escape global warming's devastating effects.

The economic impact is already being felt and rising temperatures will spread war and disease, experts warned.

Western military and intelligence agencies are being forced to plan for the impact on global security of climate change .

Environment minister Elliot Morley admitted: "It is a major threat to our global community and it is one that has to be taken seriously because otherwise the consequences will be devastating."

The number of destructive weather events has tripled since the 1960s, according to insurers Munich Re.

That has increased the cost to the global economy nine-fold, BBC Radio 4's World this Weekend said.

Stephen Lonergan, director of the UN Early Warning and Assessment Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, said diseases like malaria were spreading as the world warms up.

Longer, more severe draughts already hitting countries like Ethiopia and Somalia will worsen while demand for water increases.

Rising seas pose a separate threat not just to islands that could disappear but countries like Egypt, he told the programme.

"I hate to be apocalyptic and I hate to be catastrophic but on the other hand we are talking about major disruptions in the earth system," he said.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd 2003, All Rights Reserved.

10/08/2003 21:03
 

beakboo1

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Messages
2,310
Reaction score
44
Points
69
I think the human race thinks too much of itself, and Earth hardly notices us. It's only been 5 minutes since we arrived, she'd shrug us off like fleas if she wanted to. (Which is an odd opinion for a member of Friends of The Earth, but I'm full of contradictions.)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I worry more about fishing the seas dry and killing off all the eco systems therein, and on land. And messing about with the food. The weather doesn't worry me too much, as they're not even sure about which side of an Ice Age we are. I'm not discounting the existence of global warming. I just wonder whether it's natural global warming.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Agreed Beak.

So I suppose it'll be stamp all over car owners again while jet aircraft, power stations and heavy industry do nothing - as usual. :rolleyes:

Don't worry, we'll all be freezing our various bits off in a few weeks and all this will be but a fading memory like, "Cor! Remember the summer of '76?" :)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Well the current heatwave has as much to do with global warming as the heatwaves of '47 and '76 did.

Although, both '47 and '76 were also extremely dry, so I suppose they actually had more to do with global warming...

If the theory is correct, the UK - especially England - should have very wet winters and and very dry summers. A bit like we.....oh.....like we haven't had this year...

Interestingly, NE Scotland, where it's not expected to be especially dry in summer under the GW scenarios, has had an extremely dry summer (following an extremly dry winter)

As for Egypt disappearing under the sea - that's a new one on me! But if the sea levels rose that much most of the UK would be under water too, so frankly I don't care what happens to Egypt.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Long term climatology

The history of the CO2 level in our atmosphere is the history of life on Earth.

CO2 was quite high in the early, prebiotic period, until green plants started to produce oxygen; since the time when oxygen became predominant, CO2 has been tending to decline, as the carbon becomes incorporated into rocks and fossil fuels.
Nevertheless the CO2 level during the time of the Dinosaurs was perhaps ten times the current levels.

After the Mesozoic, the CO2 has been declining steadily until mankind came along, due to carbon being incorporated into the Earth's crust. This is one good reason why there have been many ice ages in the last million years or so.

We can get the carbon out of the fossil fuels but the majority of it remains inacessible in carbonbearing rocks.

Humanity is now releasing carbon artificially from the rocks by burning those fossil fuels, and global warming is the undoubted result. It may be that the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2 is the only thing preventing the return of glaciation, but this is debateable.

In the long term, over several million years more the natural carbon cycle no doubt would result in the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere decreasing once again until the Earth is covered in ice.

This icy world may persist for tens or hundreds of millions of years, until the slowly brightening sun warms up enough to melt the ice. By 1.5 billion years from now the sun will be warm enough to heat the Earth through a moist greenhouse stage to an uninhabitable heat. By 3 billion the Earth will be as hot as Venus.
At 5 billion the sun will be a Red Giant.

From now until 3 billion years from now, (In My Opinion), by careful management of the Carbon cycle and by using other climate forcing substances we should be able to climate control the climate of the world and keep temperatures within acceptable limits.

Strange as it may seem, starting right now it is going to be necessary to Terraform the Earth to maintain a comfortable temperature, and Kyoto is a good start.
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,242
Reaction score
9,039
Points
284
Europe had hottest summer for at least 500 years: Swiss researchers
GENEVA (AFP) - Europe this year experienced its hottest summer for at least 500 years, providing further evidence of man-made global warming (news - web sites), Swiss university researchers said.

During the crushing heat wave between June and August this year, which triggered several thousand more deaths than usual, average temperatures eclipsed the previous record set in 1757, according to a study by the University of Bern's geography department.

The average temperature in Europe was 19.5 degrees Celsius (67 degrees Fahrenheit), two degrees higher than the average summer temperatures recorded on the continent between 1901 and 1995.

Central Europe and the Alps region were the worst affected by the heat wave, with temperatures up to five degrees higher than average, the study said.

"It is very likely that human activity and greenhouse gases have caused this rise in temperature," said Juerg Luterbacher, who directed the study.

Researchers said they had pieced together a picture of Europe's weather before the 19th century using physics, chemistry and the study of the natural world -- such as trees, whose bark grows thicker with hot weather

They also relied on the writings of monks, many of whom started keeping weather records up to 500 years ago -- and found no evidence pointing to a summer hotter than 2003.

"Monks used to write accurately and regularly about the weather, with indications about grapes harvest or flower blossom," Luterbacher said.

"Climate historians know how to interpret that data and that is how we estimate the temperature of the time," he added.

The researchers found that the number of very hot summers had increased towards the end of the 18th century and the early 19th century.

The overall rise in summer temperatures in Europe has picked up over the last 26 years, with an average rise of 2.8 degrees Celsius between 1998 and 2003. The last decade was the hottest of all, the study said.

In 1757, which set the previous European record, Scandinavia, eastern Europe and Russia experienced a record heat wave, the study added.

The study spanned an area reaching from the Arctic Circle to Crete, and from Iceland to the Ural mountains.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Well, what scares me about climate change is not so much the temperature, as the change, or rather the reduction, in rainfall.
I live in Slough, Berks. I assure everyone on the board that we have had no appreciable rain in Slough since April. We are now a few hours from October. The clouds are just not there any more - each day I wake up, look at the sky, and the clouds, if any, are dirty, thin, and feeble-looking. The ground is like cement.
I am old enough to remember the "great" UK drought of 1976, when we had virtually no rain for four months. However, what people don't realise is that in the autumn of '76, the heavens opened, and the rainfall for the whole of 1976 was near-normal (to be precise, 95%).
However, we have had a record heatwave again this year, but the heavens have not opened. Could it be a natural phenomenon? Yes. But I get the feeling that the planet has had enough of us chopping down the forests, smothering the planet with more and more roads (I've never owned a car) and pumping out vast amounts of CO2. The countryside around here is disfigured by the drought. Even the sky looks different than it used to.
Something is happening to our climate, and it's very, very alarming. Just my opinion.

Big Bill Robinson
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,242
Reaction score
9,039
Points
284
Global warming to run out of gas
CATASTROPHIC global warming due to fossil-fuel burning is unlikely because oil and gas will run out too quickly, scientists have claimed.

The controversial theory forecasts that all the fuel will be burned before there is enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to bring into reality melting ice-caps and searing temperatures.

Geologists at Uppsala University in Sweden claim there are not sufficient reserves of oil and gas left in the world for even the most modest of the scenarios put forward by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to come to pass.

Predictions of global meltdown by the IPCC created the drive for the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement requiring compliant nations to restrict their emissions.

In response to the controversial theory, published today in the journal New Scientist, the IPCC staunchly defends its predictions, saying it had considered a range of estimates of oil and gas reserves, and drawing attention to the fact that coal-burning could easily make up the shortfall claimed by the Swedish scientists.

The IPCC put forward a range of future scenarios, from extravagant consumption of oil and gas to a quick change-over to greener energy sources.

Although estimates of oil and gas reserves vary widely, the Swedish researchers represent a growing body of experts who claim oil supplies will peak by 2010, and gas shortly after. They believe oil and gas reserves amount to the equivalent of 3,500 billion barrels - much less than the 5,000 billion barrels estimated in the IPCC’s most optimistic model.

The worst-case scenario sees 18,000 billion barrels of oil and gas being burned - five times the amount researchers believe is left. Nebjosa Nakicenovic, an energy economist at the University of Vienna, who led the IPCC team that formulated the forecasts, insisted his predictions were still legitimate.

He said the team calculated a much broader, internationally accepted range of oil and gas estimates than the "conservative" Swedes, and drew attention to the huge reserves of coal that could still be exploited.

But Dr Kevin Anderson, a scientist with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Britain’s most esteemed climate research institution, said lessons from history should not easily be forgotten.

He asked: "On how many occasions over the past three decades have we heard the cry of wolf over oil reserves?

"According to many experts of the day, we should now have either run out of oil or be parting with 0-plus for each of the remaining few precious barrels.

"Instead, our roads are clogged with ever more inefficient 4x4s guzzling gas, and our skies are increasingly clogged with aircraft - the most fuel-profligate form of transport.

"It seems that as the price of oil rises, so does our ability to either find new reserves or develop methods to extract more oil from each reservoir."

He said that burning 3,500 billion barrels - the Swedes’ conservative estimate - would see concentrations rise towards 1,000 parts per million (ppm). To put this in perspective, was 280ppm before the industrial revolution, is now 360ppm and, according to the Royal Commission on Environment and Pollution, must not exceed 450-550ppm if climate change is to be avoided.

Dr Anderson concluded: "Simplistic analysis neglecting the combustion of coal, our appalling record at forecasting fuel reserves and underestimating the carbon dioxide impact of known reserves is a dangerous basis ... [for] policy."
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Just goes to show that for every expert opinion there is an equil and opposite expert opinion.

Didnt I read somewhere that old oil wells are refilling quite rapidly aftter being drained?? There could be a lot more fuel than we thought. Sadly.
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,242
Reaction score
9,039
Points
284
Melting glaciers threaten Peru
Thousands of people in the Andes mountains of Peru are having their lives affected in both a practical and cultural way by climate change, which is causing the region's glaciers to melt.

This is already having a major impact of some aspects of life for the people who live in the mountains - and the government of the country is worried that the situation could get much worse.

In the last three decades, Peruvian glaciers have lost almost a quarter of their area.

"This is an indicator which gave us some concern on how the future was going to be on these tropical glaciers," Patricia Iturregui, head of the Climate Change Unit of Peru's National Council for the Environment, told BBC World Service's One Planet programme.

"All our estimations on the basis of this data are that in the next 10 years the top tropical glaciers of Peru - and eventually other Andean countries - above 5,500 metres will disappear if climate conditions remain as the last 10 years."

Nasa fears

The most immediate threat is coming from the change to water supplies in the area.

During the dry season, river water comes exclusively from the glaciers, which melt naturally at that time of year. They then replenish themselves in the wet season.

But this balance has been upset - the glaciers are melting faster than they can replenish themselves.

As they thaw, dozens of new lakes have spread all over the highland.

A recent report by US space agency Nasa suggested that a large chunk of ice in the area could break off and fall into one of these lakes, triggering a devastating flood.

Satellites had detected a crack in the glacier overlooking Lake Palcacocha.

One city under threat would be Huaraz, with a population of 100,000. The news from Nasa came as a very worrying shock to many in the city.

"We were all very worried in my family - we packed suitcases with clothes and blankets," Joana, one of the citizens of Huaraz, told One Planet.

"We warned our relatives to be prepared."

Risk assessment

Some scientists dispute Nasa's claims. Mario Giva, of the Peruvian National Institute for Natural Resources, said that it was "necessary for some work in the field to determine whether there is sufficient evidence of any imminent danger".

Nevertheless, Nasa is currently in conversation with the Peruvian Government over these findings, which is drawing up plans to respond to the risks posed by the melting glaciers.

"We need to make an important effort to plan disaster management and prevention of risks in the future," Ms Iturregui said.

"The most important measures to be taken are to organise local communities and to organise an institutional framework able to respond to these adverse effects."

She added that an assessment of water resources available in the future was currently under way.

"We are in the process of desertification," stressed Ms Iturregui.

"The retreat of the glaciers is definitely going to mean a shortfall in the water supply in years to come."

Tourism threat

Some in Huarez itself recall when, in 1941, a chunk of ice did melt off - and destroyed around a third of the city, killing between 5,000 and 7,000 people.

But the melting glaciers are also causing other problems.

The deluge is proving too much for some of the canals - some of which are many years old - that supply the farms and mills in the central region.

Conversely, the fact that the glaciers are not replenishing themselves is also a potential threat to life in the region, as in the dry season they are the sole source of fresh water.

And there are further impacts on the lives of people in the mountains.

"Now, glaciers are sliding over the bedrock," said glacier expert Cecil Portocarrero.

"This is causing problems - not only for water resources but also for tourism, for climbers."

'Healing water' banned

Meanwhile some ancient spiritual traditions are also under threat.

Every year thousands of people from across the Andes flock to the Sinakara glacial mountain to attend the Qoyllur Rit'i religious festival.

Catholic tradition believes that the Christ child appeared in 1870 to a shepherd boy named Marianito Mayta. Ever since, pilgrims have believed that Christ lives in the rock.

And for the Incas - and other civilisations that preceded them - mountains were gods to be honoured, as they supplied water and controlled the weather.

Many people come down from the glacier with pieces of ice, as they believe the ice can cure them of illness.

"They think it acts like a medicine - like a sacred water," explained mountain guide Feri Coba.

"Perhaps at home someone is not feeling well. They will drink it and they will be cured."

Ritual ending

This year, because of concerns about melting, the Pablitos - the guardians of the Qoyllur Rit'i ceremony - have stopped the ice being taken away.

"We decided to eliminate this part of a ritual because we are concerned about the glacier," explained one Pablito. "We have taken this decision to protect the ice."

The decision has upset many pilgrims.

"The glaciers were bigger - when I first came here this particular one reached around 200 metres down," one said.

"In a few years' time we might not have any ice. I don't know where the Andean people will be able to go for their rituals."
 
Top