Glacier Fluctuations and Climate in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru

Georg Kaser, Alcides Ames, Marino Zamora
1990 Annals of Glaciology  
With a total of 723 km2 of glaciers (1970) the Cordillera Blanca includes the largest glacier-covered area in the tropics. The climate is characterized by relatively large daily and small seasonal temperature variations as well as by a distinct succession between a dry (May–September) and a wet season (October–April). Since the early 1970s an ablation stake network has been installed on the tongues of the glaciers Uruashraju and Yanamarey. The determination of the equilibrium-line altitude at
more » ... -line altitude at each end of a wet season was possible, showing a fair correlation with temperature, but not with the precipitation records of the nearby climatological station Querococha. Mean ablation rates at the lowest parts of the glacier tongues are markedly higher during the wet season than during the dry season. Reasons are presumably to be found in the seasonal variation of cloudiness and air moisture rates. Terminus variations of four glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca have been monitored since the early seventies, earlier positions are reconstructed back to 1948 by vertical air photographs. For the glaciers Uruashraju and Yanamarey the terminus positions of 1939 are known from an early map. The general retreat of glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca during the last five decades correlates with the global attitude of glaciers and especially with the attitude of glaciers in other tropical areas. Decreased recession rates with minor advances (1974–79 and 1985–86) are accompanied by lower annual temperatures and preceded and accompanied by years with relatively high annual precipitation sums.
doi:10.3189/s0260305500008430 fatcat:jedpgmvqmzez3k6c7phjzskpby