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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
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  

PIs: Roberto Zegarra Balcazar and Felio Carderon La Torre, (former PIs Karen Kraft and Julio F. Alegría), Asociacion Especializada para el Desarrollo Sostenible (AEDES)
U.S. Partners:  Joerg Schaefer, Columbia University, and Gordon Bromley, University of Maine
Project Dates: June 2012 - January 2015

Project Overview

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.
 
1-353 Alegria2
Monitoring campaign of the southern front of Coropuna. Photo courtesy of Dr. Julio Alegria.
1-353 Alegria1
 Installation of wooden stakes in the axis of the glacier. Photo courtesy of Dr. Julio Alegria.

To achieve their objectives, these researchers will carry out a series of j
oint 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, i
t is expected that the U.S.-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
 
From August 4 through 10, 2014, a member of the AEDES team took part in the Introduction to Glaciology course organized by the Scientific Technological Center (CONICET) in Mendoza, Argentina. The highlight of the project took place the following month when, in cooperation with scientists from the Ministry of the Environment (SENAMHI ) and the Glaciology Unit of the National Water Agency (UG-ANA), AEDES staff installed the long-planned automatic weather station on Coropuna in September 2014, with the aim of measuring snowmelt runoff and other environmental data at the Coropuna north flank outlet. Meanwhile, AEDES staff members continue coordinating with their U.S. partner Dr. Gordon Bromley of the University of Maine regarding plans for a planned international glacier researchers’ meeting. This event will bring together researchers and professionals who are working in glaciology, water resources, and climate change issues in the region. In the coming months, the research team will also continue their outreach efforts to present the results of their Coropuna glacier research to the municipal authorities as well as local government and academic institutions. A no-cost extension has been authorized through January 2015 to allow additional time for completion of all project activities.

Please see http://www.senamhi.gob.pe/?p=1500 for SENAMHI’s announcement (in Spanish) and photograph of the station and team members and http://laprensa.peru.com/actualidad/noticia-senamhi-instala-estacion-meteorologica-mas-alta-america-32070 for a sample of Peruvian press coverage of the event (also in Spanish). A brief video about the installation is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EInkAEBc4Ts&feature=youtu.be.


1-353 Jan2014 qtrly report AEDES
AEDES technical team performing fieldwork in Tuailqui Glacier, south flank of Coropuna, December 2013. Photo courtesy of Dr. Julio Alegria
1-353_jan2014 qtrl report2 Coropuna
Installing wooden stakes in Maukallaqta Glacier, north flank of Coropuna. Photo courtesy of Dr. Julio Alegria.

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