Bolivia: vanishing glacier threatens La Paz water supply

The 18,000-year-old Chacaltaya glacier overlooking La Paz has vanished six years earlier than scientists predicted, ending the world’s highest ski run—and threatening water supplies to the Bolivian capital. The World Bank says water could be diminished imminently to the 2 million people in La Paz and neighboring El Alto. Chacaltaya—”bridge of ice” in the Aymara language—has been a barren slope devoid of permanent snow for some six months as the Southern Hemisphere’s summer came on. Scientists had forecast for its disappearance for 2015. The World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich says that from the Andes to the Alps, glaciers have retreated for 18 years—and twice as fast now as a decade ago. (Bloomberg, Aug. 5)

We have noted similar reports from Peru and Tibet.

See our last post on Bolivia and the climate crisis.

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  1. No global warming skeptics in El Alto
    In a front-page article timed to coincide with the Copenhagen climate summit, “In Bolivia, Water and Ice Tell A Story of Changing Climate,” the New York Times Dec. 14 notes growing water shortages in El Alto and La Paz—disproportionately affecting low-income areas, despite what the Times calls the government’s “socialist rhetoric.” Notes a photo caption of a wide ring of bare earth surrounding mountain lake: “The Milluni reservoir has receded as glaciers that provide some of Bolivia’s water and electricity have melted and disappeared.”