The Argentine Patagonian glacier Ameghino has contracted almost four kilometres over the last eighty years because of global warming according to evidence from Greenpeace.
Pictures from Argentina’s National Park of Glaciers in the southern province of Santa Cruz taken in 1931 and in March this year show how much the mass of ice has retracted.
“What we can see is an extraordinary retraction of almost four kilometres which coincides with the evolution in the last decades of almost all ice masses along the Andes mountain range”, said Juan Carlos Villalonga head of Greenpeace Argentina campaigns.
The most recent picture of the Ameghino glacier was taken by Greenpeace together with the Argentine Snow and Glacier Institute (Ianigla), while that of 1931 belongs to a priest Alberto De Agostini.
Comparing the evidence it is clear that in the current situation the glacier now has a lagoon which does not appear in the pictures from before 1949.
“Ameghino is one of the glaciers which Ianigla begun to monitor and study quite a few decades ago and year after year comparing historic documents from that time you can clearly see a very significant retraction process”, said Ricardo Villalba, Ianigla director.
“The global warming effect generates the retraction of ice all over the planet and obviously Argentine is not the exception nor are the glaciers of South America and Patagonia”, he added.
“Those of us who periodically tour the Andes cordillera can clearly see the process as ice retracts and in some cases the process is becoming more intense”, said Villalba.
Greenpece pointed out that the disappearance of glaciers means a loss of drinking water reserves since many of those ice masses contribute to the flow of rivers that are born in the high mountains.
The Ameghino glacier belongs to the South Patagonia Iced Fields, which includes thirteen major glaciers and 190 considered smaller.