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INSTAAR seminar: The unexplored link between the Amazon forest and tropical glaciers: From global...

Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 12:00PM - 1:00PM


Alfonso Fernandez

Geography, Universidad de Concepción, Chile


SEEC room S228 (Sievers conference room)

4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder

Full title

The unexplored link between the Amazon forest and tropical glaciers: From global climate warming to regional environmental change


Recent research has highlighted several ongoing environmental changes occurring across Tropical South America, including Andean glacier retreat, drought, as well as changes in land use and land cover. As the regional climate of the area is mostly characterized by land-ocean interactions, the atmospheric convection in the Amazon, and the effect of the Andes on circulation patterns, it follows that changes in one of those regions may affect the other. Most scholars who have studied the causes of tropical glaciers’ fluctuations have not analyzed the linkages with changes in the Amazon with the same attention paid to the influence of Pacific sea surface temperature. In this talk, I present our ongoing work focused on the response of tropical glacier surface mass balance to scenarios of Amazonian land cover changes. I begin with an overview on what we currently know regarding impacts of Amazonian land cover changes on regional climate to then show our specific study case in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru (10°S). In this work, we combine regional climate modeling and glacier mass balance simulations to study the sensitivity of glacier mass balance to a scenario where the Amazonian rainforest is replaced by savannas. I discuss the implications of our results to further understand drivers of future and past tropical glacier fluctuations.


Free and open to the public.