Analyzing and Addressing the Impact of Shrinking Andes Glaciers on Water Supplies

As UAlbany climate scientist Mathias Vuille investigates shrinking Andes glaciers and South American summer monsoons, he is also working to build the capacity of scientists and their communities in South America to confront the long-term impacts of regional climate-related changes.

shrinking andes claciers
Matthias Vuille with graduate student from South America.

Vuille, an associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (DAES), led the development of a network of local scientists and stakeholders in four South American countries to address the impact of shrinking glaciers on water supplies.

The four countries – Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile – all rely to a great extent on water released by glaciers. Warming temperatures, however, have resulted in significant glacial retreat, shrinkage and thinning, and the situation suggests the potential for a severe future water crisis in the region. The goal of the network is to incorporate the latest scientific findings into adaptation and mitigation strategies to assure a sustainable future water supply.

Funded by a $990,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State, the project has also brought several students from South America to UAlbany to work toward doctoral degrees in DAES. The students plan to apply the scientific expertise they gain at UAlbany when they return to their home countries.