Snow and Ice Changes in the Glaciers of the Cordillera Real

Bolivia map with highlight area of study in AndesChristian DeGrassi recently completed a thesis analyzing changes in glacial ice extent and condition in a portion of the Andes of Bolivia. Mayfield and Degrassi are continuing that research and plan to publish the results in the near future. Mountain glaciers and ice caps are sensitive indicators of climate change and may be especially useful in the detection of enhanced greenhouse warming (Thompson 2000). Due to the narrow range of climate conditions under which glaciers and ice caps develop, monitoring the distribution, intensity, and rate of change of ice masses is of utmost importance in delineating spatial and temporal variations of the Earth's climate system. The purpose of this research is to analyze snow and ice cover changes of the glaciers of the Cordillera Real (Bolivia) during the period 1987-2001. The study is based on analysis of satellite images, and seeks to enhance the understanding of regional trends and dynamics of glacier retreat observed on benchmark glaciers.