Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)
Building Peruvian capacity for monitoring and modeling the effects of climate change on the Coropuna Glacier and associated watersheds in Arequipa, Peru
PI: Karen Kraft (former) and Julio F. Alegría (since April 2013), Asociacion Especializada para el Desarrollo Sostenible (AEDES)
Installation of wooden stakes in the axis of the glacier. Photo courtesy of Dr. Julio Alegria.
US Partner: Joerg Schaefer, Columbia University
Project Dates: June 2012 - January 2014
Peru is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to the dependence of 70 percent of its population on glaciers for dry season water; however, Peru lacks an integral vision that builds climate change resilience by linking investigation, local knowledge, and decision-making. In this project, AEDES is partnering with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University with the goal of building Peru´s capacity for monitoring and modeling local climate change in its Pacific Basin. The objectives of this capacity building project are to (1) improve data collection and analysis through practical training, (2) foster knowledge and data exchanges between national and international scientists, and (3) contribute to more robust modeling of Coropuna-vicinity climate change scenarios. This project will facilitate quality data collection by local researchers that contributes to local models that should help decision makers to better prepare themselves for changing climate conditions.
To achieve their objectives, these researchers will carry out a series of joint data collection and field-based training during the summers of 2012 and 2013 and will maintain periodic monitoring of glacier mass at two sites and of hydrological data in two sub-basins. A highlight of the project will be the installation of a new weather and hydrology station installed on Coropuna, which should enhance data accuracy. The project will also provide support for the thesis research and training of two Peruvian master's degree students. One workshop will be organized on climate change, glaciers, and hydrology in the southern Andes, and another training workshop on climate change modeling will be conducted. Overall, it is expected that the US-based researchers involved will benefit from improved logistical support and an expanded field season, while the Peruvian investigators will gain from improved precision in data collection and analysis, knowledge of international research results, and enhanced ability to model climate change scenarios. The project should also provide the international research and policy community with vital information for understanding the sensitivity of tropical glaciers in Peru´s highly valued freshwater reservoirs to climate warming.
Summary of Recent Activities
Monitoring campaign of the southern front of Coropuna. Photo courtesy of Dr. Julio Alegria.
AEDES and the regional government of Arequipa continued their work on the design of a project that will fund the acquisition and maintenance of the second and third Automatic Weather Station (AWR), as well as provide data collection support on the glacier after the PEER project is completed. On the research side, the analysis of 42 years of precipitation and temperature data gathered from meteorological stations close to Coropuna was conducted. This information is critical for the development of studies on water resources in river basins fed by glaciers and will serve as a resource for the research of students involved in the project. Following negotiations, AEDES has recently signed agreements to develop climate change research with the National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology (SENAMHI), Ministry of Environment (MINAM), and the National Water Authority (ANA). Mr. Carlos Pereyra, Office Coordinator of Watersheds at ANA, visited the project field sites to discuss joint research opportunities in the Ocoña River Basin. The visit of Dr. Ana Barros from Duke University provided an opportunity to exchange experiences on climate change and receive recommendations for ongoing research. The AEDES research team has been working with specialists from the Glaciology Unit of Huaraz - ANA in the field, gathering data from the mountain ranges of Ampato and Huanzo in southern Peru. After a long process of collecting bids from vendors, an Automatic Weather Station has finally been acquired and is scheduled to be mounted inside the glacier in the fall of 2013. The research team continues supporting two Peruvian Master’s degree students who are carrying out glaciology studies. They are currently gathering information in the field under the direct supervision of Julio Alegría, with technical and academic support provided by U.S. co-partner Dr. Gordon Bromely during his regular visits to Peru. AEDES is also organizing an event for national (ANA and SENAMHI) and international researchers studying Coropuna Glacier, which is scheduled to be held January 2014 in the city of Arequipa. The data collected during the monitoring campaign on the southern front of Coropuna will be analyzed by the AEDES researchers and the Glaciology Unit of Huaraz in the winter of 2014. In the spring of 2014, the results of the Coropuna glaciers research will be presented to district, provincial, and regional governments, as well as academic institutions in Arequipa.
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