Universidad Yachay Tech (Ecuador), INAIGEM (Peru), Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (Bolivia), IANIGLA (Argentina), Universidad Regional Amazónica IKIAM (Ecuador), Universidad Austral de Chile (Chile), GLACIOLCLIM / Université Grenoble Alpes (France), & World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) / University of Zurich (Switzerland)

Monitoring the evolution of ice mass is essential for understanding climate change and its impacts in mountain environment such as the Andes, where glaciers are retreating. Measurements are typically taken at the glacier surface using a network of stakes installed in the ablation zone, and pits or snow cores in the accumulation zone. These point measurements must be extrapolated spatially to quantify the total annual ice mass changes across a given glacier. Moreover, despite regional efforts to maintain continuous monitoring, many glaciers in the Andes are monitored only sporadically due to the logistical and budgetary difficulties, necessitating temporal interpolation or extrapolation too. 

To address these issues, the project sought to homogenise the mass balance dataset of 13 glaciers along the Andes over a wide latitudinal range (15°N-54°S) using a bivariate statistical model. A geodetic adjustment was also included. During the project, three additional institutes were integrated and contributed glacier data: IDEAM, (Colombia), the Agencia Nacional de Aguas (Peru), and the Direcctión General de Aguas del Ministerio de Obras Públicas (Chile).


Main outputs: 

The standardized glacier mass balance time series and their uncertainties represents the main project output. The associated code (R / Jupyter notebook) will be made available via GitHub.  A scientific paper is in preparation, and the data and code will be released once it has been published. Finally, a website has been developed to promote the project; in due course, this will include a data viewer (i.e., an Andean glacier dashboard). 

Contact: Dr. Ruben Basantes, School of Earth Sciences, Energy and Environment, Universidad Yachay Tech: rbasantes [at] yachaytech.edu.ec

Image from Ruben Basantes

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