Amazon Wildfire Increases Andes Glacier Meltdown

The smoke from burning forests in the Amazon can increase glacier melt, according to researchers. It also grows the concern about a water issue in South America. Researchers discovered that snow and ice were being deepened, intensifying the melt time, also harming the supplies.

Melting glaciers produce water for an entire population in the area. The team shaped the action and effect of smoke particles from fires on Andean glaciers. They further verified their results against satellite images. Dr. Newton de Magalhaes Neto from Rio de Janeiro State University in Brazil explained: “Amazon deforestation and fires-events that occur mainly in Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil-cannot be considered a regional issue.” He detailed how the fires have social involvement on a continental scale.

How Are the Glaciers at Hundreds of Miles Away Affected by Fires?

The study, conducted by Dr. de Magalhaes Neto, began a few years ago and focused on two periods, 2007 and 2010. Those periods indicated more fires than usual in the Amazon rainforest. The study’s results showed how the atmospheric data indicated smoke from those fires, especially particles of black carbon, which were transported on wind and dropped on mountain glaciers.

Also, the study centered on one particular glacier, known as Zongo Glacier, in Bolivia. Dr. de Magalhaes Neto added, “Once deposited on the glacier, the [black carbon darkens] the snow/ice surface, which reduces its ability to reflect solar radiation-or sunlight.”

The area that was ‘darkened’ develops an increased process of absorption of the sun’s energy, which identifies melting.

What Could Be the Result of This?

People from the tropical Andes depend on melting glaciers to get their provision of water, which means the result will be felt over a massive area. Dr. Ryan Wilson, the University of Huddersfield, detailed that he studied the effects of climate change in glaciers in the Andes for a long time.

He explained: “This raises awareness of an additional factor that may [have an] impact [on] glacier melting in the tropical Andes.” Further investigation should also be a priority, according to Dr. Wilson.

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