VENEZUELA'S GLACIAL DECLINE (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     21st May 2024        
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Context: Venezuela recently became the first modern country to lose all its glaciers, following scientists' reclassification of the Humboldt glacier as an ice field earlier this month.


Venezuela's Glacial Decline

  • Former Glacial Abundance: Venezuela once boasted six glaciers nestled in the Andes mountains, approximately 5,000 meters above sea level.

oBy 2011, the number had dwindled to one as five of Venezuela's glaciers vanished, leaving only the Humboldt glacier.

  • Melting Pace: Scientists had estimated the Humboldt glacier would endure for another decade, but it melted faster than anticipated.
  • Drastic Reduction: The Humboldt glacier has now diminished to less than 2 hectares, prompting its reclassification from a glacier to an ice field.
  • Dire Projections: According to a 2023 study, if current climate trends persist, around two-thirds of the world's glaciers could vanish by 2100.
  • Reason of disappearing: It is global warming. Like an ice cube melts when exposed to heat, glaciers are melting due to warmer temperatures.

oThe Andes a mountain range running through parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela — has witnessed a temperature increase of a high rate of 0.10 degree Celsius in the past seven decades. That is one of the major reasons why Venezuela has lost all of its glaciers.

oIndia is also at the risk of losing its glaciers. They are melting at unprecedented rates across the Hindu Kush Himalayan mountain ranges and could lose up to 80% of their volume this century if GHG emissions are not drastically reduced, according to a 2023 report.

  • Glaciers: these are essentially large and thick masses of ice that are formed on land due to the accumulation of snow over centuries.
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