November 7, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Geography Colloquium: Climate Change & Glaciers in Peru, Nov. 7

The Geography Colloquium series presents Dr. Bryan G. Mark onClimate change and glaciers in Peru: hydrologic transformations and social vulnerabilities” on Friday, Nov. 7, from 3:05 to 4 p.m. in Clippinger 119.

Mark is Associate Professor of Geography at Ohio State University and a member of the Byrd Polar Research Center, where he is principal investigator in BPRC’s Glacier Environmental Change Group.

Mark Byrd leads the Byrd Glacier Environmental Change Group

Mark Byrd leads the Byrd Glacier Environmental Change Group

Abstract: Climate change and dramatic glacier mass loss in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru, has transformed downstream hydrology in the Santa River watershed, with implications for domestic, agricultural and industrial water resources. I will describe a collaborative research project to couple multiscalar observations of changes in glacier volume, hydrology, water quality, and land cover/use with social and economic data about resource use. Based on historical runoff and glacier data, combined with innovative new observations and glacier-climate modeling, we find that the upper watershed is on the descending limb of a conceptual multi-decadal hydrograph. This indicates a long-scale decrease in discharge resulting from a net loss of stored water. We find evidence that this altered hydrology is transforming proglacial wetland ecology and water quality, even while water resource use has intensified. I argue that perceptions of water availability and actual water use practices remain relatively divorced from the amount of either glacier runoff or Santa River water flow. In order to identify, understand, model, and adapt to these climate-glacier-water changes, it is vital to integrate the analysis of both water availability (the domain of hydrologists) and water use (the focus for social scientists).

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