Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)
Impacts of climate change on tropical wetlands: tracking the evolution of two Andean lakes and a floodplain cienaga in Columbia
PI: Julio Eduardo Cañón Barriga, Universidad de Antioquia
US Partner: Francina Dominguez, University of Arizona
Project Dates: May 2012 - December 2014
Dr. Cañon during his presentation at the September 2012 workshop, photo courtesy of Dr. Cañon.
Communities in tropical regions along the Andean Cordillera in South America face an uncertain future, as mountain lakes and snow peaks exhibit receding trends and strong fluctuations associated with climatic drivers (i.e., climate change and El Niño) and local human activities. Such fluctuations are apparent in Colombia, where these changes will have direct impact on strategic ecosystems such as the Orinoco and Amazon basins and the highly populated Cauca and Magdalena River basins. Therefore, understanding how these water systems evolve in the near future is of critical importance for the communities that depend on them for their survival.
This project aims to develop long-term monitoring of the evolution of three natural water bodies: Colombia´s two main Andean lakes (Tota and Cocha) and the floodplain wetland of Ayapel. These natural reservoirs not only represent the accumulated effect of hydrological processes in their respective basins but also serve as examples of highly intervened environments from which several rural and urban communities derive their water resources and develop their economic activities. This project will gather data about the areas of interest by contacting local, national, and international agencies for technical reports, census information, hydrologic databases, and remote sensing imagery. The information gathered, as well as gauges installed at the lakes and visits to record geographical, geophysical, and socio-economic data, will be used to build models that describe the evolution of these bodies of water. The results of these studies will be available through technical and scientific papers as well as a website to be designed to offer easy access to geographically integrated and updated information useful for all interested parties locally and worldwide. The project should facilitate the development of improved models to determine the lake stage as a function of climate drivers and human uses to serve as a basis for future decision support for the communities involved.
Summary of Recent Activities
During the summer and early fall of 2013, doctoral student Isabel Hoyos worked with German intern Judith Vogt on the digital processing of satellite images to determine moisture paths over Colombian territory. Dr. Cañón’s graduate students are continuing in their second semester of classes, including a course on time series analysis offered by the PI himself, and have been working on their research and developing the models for the lakes and ciénaga using the software Vensim®
. The group submitted an abstract based on project results to the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held in December 2013 in San Francisco, CA. Four abstracts were also submitted to the IV National Environmental Engineering Student Meeting (ENEISA, 2013), to be held at the Universidad de Antioquia in November. Travel to the project field sites was impossible in September and October due to generalized strikes protesting economic issues, but it is hoped that the situation will normalize soon. Dr. Cañón plans to visit U.S. partner Francina Dominguez at the University of Arizona in early December 2013 using non-PEER funds. Meanwhile, the visa application process for Isabel Hoyos has been initiated in preparation for her five-month internship with Dr. Dominguez beginning in January 2014. The website platform for the project remains accessible at http://peerlagoscolombia.udea.edu.co/
, and new materials are being added regularly in English and Spanish.
The group installing a station in Ayapel to help
process digital information in real time via the Internet.
The group finishing their work on the digital station.
Article on project from Universidad de Antioquia newsletter Ingeniemos, August 2012
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