Climate change has caused a dramatic reduction in the extent and volume of glaciers.
In Peru, the second National Glacier Inventory shows the reduction of glacier area in 42.64% in comparison with the total area documented in the first inventory of 1970 – 2041.85 km2 (ANA, 2014). Glacier retreat can lead to the formation of new lakes in exposed glacier-bed overdeepenings. These lakes can pose greater natural threats to downstream populations, but they can also become tourist attractions and new possibilities for water management at local, regional or basin level (Haeberli et al., 2016a; Haeberli et al., 2017; Salzmann et al., 2004). As new and larger reservoirs of fresh water, these lakes could benefit populations in fields like hydropower and agriculture.
For this reason, identifying sites of possible future lake formation is an essential step in early planning of disaster risk management measures, adaptation to climate change and (integrated) management of water resources (Haeberli et al., 2016a). This planning should therefore consider the formation of new high-mountain landscapes with changing ecosystems in the long term.
A pioneering work of compilation and location of possible future lakes in Peru was started by Unidad de Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos (UGRH) /Glacier and Water Resources Unit (UGRH) of the National Water Authority (ANA), and continued by Instituto Nacional de Investigación en Glaciares y Ecosistemas de Montaña (INAIGEM) / National Institute of Glacier and Ecosystem Research (INAIGEM). This process has been accompanied and assisted by the team of Proyecto Glaciares+.
Glaciares+, is an initiative of the Global Climate Change and Environment Program of the Swiss Cooperation COSUDE, facilitated by CARE Perú and the Swiss Consortium led by the University of Zurich, which works in coordination with the National Water Authority and the Ministry of the Environment to make the most of water resource management opportunities in the context of glacier retreat. It is being implemented in Ancash, Cusco and Lima.Further information:
Proyecto Glaciares, Project Sheet , Swiss Embassy, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation COSUDE
Publications Proyecto Glaciares