Image: Orbital view of Mount Huascarán, Peru

May 16, 2014
Credit: JAXA/ESA

The snow-capped mountains running through the centre of this satellite image are part of the Cordillera Blanca – or 'white range' – in South America's Andes. Even though they are part of the typically warm Tropics – the region of Earth surrounding the equator – the mountain range is high enough to be permanently covered in snow and ice.

There are hundreds of glaciers in this range, providing a major source of water for irrigation and . The glaciers and snow-covered areas 'collect' rain and snow during the rainy season and slowly release it during the drier times of the year. Over the last decades, the glaciers have experienced major losses owing to climate change, causing a major threat to water supply during the dry season in the future.

Located near the centre of this image, Mount Huascarán is the highest peak in Peru at 6768 m. The summit is one of the farthest points from Earth's centre, meaning it experiences the lowest gravity on the planet.

North of Huascarán, we can see an outlet glacier that meets another outlet from the Chopicalqui mountain to the east. Numerous blue glacial lakes are visible in the valleys between the mountains.

The Huascarán National Park protects this mountainous area, and has been on the UNESCO world heritage list since 1985. The spectacled bear, puma, mountain cat, white-tailed deer and vicuna are important indigenous species, but have all been heavily hunted in the past.

Explore further: Vanishing ice warning for 'Africa's Alps'

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2.3 / 5 (3) May 16, 2014
Putting "Inevitable" Glacier Disappearance in Perspective

Remember when, for several years the IPCC continued to proclaim that all the Himalaya glaciers were going to have melted by 2035? They even denounced skeptics who disputed it as doing "voodoo" science.

"Indian Scientists: Himalayan Glaciers are Not Melting

Andrew Orlowski, The Register

Top Indian physicists have concluded Himalayan glaciers show little sign of retreat – in one of the largest studies of its type ever carried out."


I would be willing to take a bet that this new Andes glaciers melting story will also not stand up to scrutiny.

"The polar bears will be fine". - Freeman Dyson.
3.7 / 5 (3) May 16, 2014
Perhaps the Fine Polar Bears, -Dyson, Freeman Dyson, and shooty can all go pile in a Hummer, and visit the Himalayas and the Andes to confirm the ground truth of Glacial Retreat.

No need to hurry. Good Science takes time --and lots of it.

P.S. We will miss you, Fine Polar Bears.

P.P.S. If you get hungry, Fine Polar Bears, -Dyson, Freeman Dyson and shooty may prove edible, if you can stomach the rank taste of troll. Try a little Cholula sauce.

3.7 / 5 (3) May 16, 2014
Remember when, ***for several years the IPCC continued to proclaim*** that all the Himalaya glaciers were going to have melted by 2035?
So you remember things that never happened, do you Shootist? I'd see a neurologist if I were you...


"No balloon and no aeroplane will ever be practically successful." -William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin