- Title: Scientists rescue samples of melting Bolivian glacier for posterity
- Date: 21st June 2017
- Summary: ILLIMANI MOUNTAIN, BOLIVIA (JUNE 20, 2017) (REUTERS) GINOT LOOKING AT MOUNTAIN (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SCIENTIST OF THE ICE MEMORY PROJECT, PATRICK GINOT, SAYING: "The glaciers of the Andes, like all the glaciers in the world are going to heat up in the future. In 1999 we did the first perforation here in the Illimani glacier and measured its internal temperature. Today, with the new perforation carried out in the last few weeks, we have done the same measurement and we can prove that the temperature of the glacier has risen 0.7 degrees Centigrade (33.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in 18 years. This glacier, at 6,500 metres will heat up bit by bit and with global warming it will lose all the information that we are going to take from these ice samples. That is why we cannot wait ten more years. With an event as strong as El Nino, all the quality (of information in the ice samples) could be lost from one moment to the next in these glaciers high up in the Andes."
- Embargoed: 5th July 2017 21:43
- Keywords: Bolivia Antarctica ice climate change global warming glacier Illimani Mountain Ice Memory
- Location: ILLIMANI MOUNTAIN, BOLIVIA
- City: ILLIMANI MOUNTAIN, BOLIVIA
- Country: Bolivia
- Topics: Science
- Reuters ID: LVA0036M7YYX3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A team of international scientists are transporting samples of ice from a melting glacier in Bolivia to Antarctica, for study and preservation before the glacier disappears.
The international "Ice Memory" expedition of 15 scientists took samples from the glacier on Illimani Mountain in the Andes and will store them in Antarctica at the French-Italian base of Concordia.
The scientists were helped by local guides and porters, who live near the base of Illimani. Clearly visible from Bolivia's capital La Paz, Illimani's "eternal snows" are frequently referenced in the music, mythology and literature of the Aymara people.
But scientists say global warming is rapidly melting the glaciers of the Andes, removing an important source of fresh water for many communities and threatening others with deadly avalanches. Illimani itself has warmed by 0.7 degree Centigrade in the last 18 years, said Ice Memory glaciologist Patrick Ginot.
The team dug over 130 meters (430 ft) into the glacier to remove 75 ice samples, which they say yield some 18,000 years of climatic history.
"As glaciologists, we want to keep this kind of glacier sample because for us it is an encyclopaedia of the climate and environment," Ginot told Reuters on Tuesday (June 20).
"When you remove a glacier sample, you're perforating through into the world's history."
The French-led Ice Memory organization says its goal is to create a global ice archive sanctuary in Antarctica. It has also run a similar expedition on Mont Blanc in the Alps and plans further trips to Russia and Nepal.
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