The Andean glacier and water atlas: the impact of glacier retreat on water resources
If current trends continue, some of the lower-altitude glaciers of the tropical Andes could lose between 78 and 97% of their volume by the end of the century, reducing the region’s available freshwater resources. These alarming data are from the Water Atlas launched by UNESCO during the COP24 in Katowice (Poland) in december 2018. Most glaciers have been retreating for decades due to climate change, a problem that has been particularly acute in the tropical Andes since the 1950s. To meet the challenges of ensuring water security for the populations that depend on these glaciers, the Atlas makes a series of recommendations for policy makers in the region. It calls for better integration of scientific data into political decision-making, improved climate change monitoring infrastructure, integrated water resources management, and strengthened coordination between Andean countries.