(Evidences of glacial disappearance and changes climate: Venezuelan Andean Mountains)

Guerrero C., Omar; Quintero., José L; Guerrero, C., Gabriel; Guerrero, O y Fonseca, L.
Facultad de Ingeniería. Mérida, Venezuela. Miembros de Grupo de Ciencias de la Tierra TERRA, ULA.


The study area is located inside the National Park Sierra Nevada de Mérida, occupying the area delimited in and above the 3000 meters above mean sea level that covers the area locally known as “Paramo Andino” or Andean Mountains. The area is further limited between the following geographic coordinates 8º 10’ 38” - 8º 53’ 08” of north latitude and 70º 32’ 50” - 71º 17’ 04” of longitude west. The principal objective was to analyze the glacier recession in the Sierra Nevada de Mérida between the period of years from 1900 to 2008, with the purpose of determining the factors, the evidences and the magnitude of the process. With that goal in mind we planed a methodology that allowed completing spatial measurements starting with the manipulation of aerial photography and vertical images with the purpose of recognizing modifications in perpetual snow accumulations within the study area, also allow us to conduct direct surveys in the field of study of the glacial evidences. The inclusion of physico-natural and social variables applied to the problem in the study allowed us to recognize thru a historical statistical analysis and planimetric measurements above the aerial images, as well as additional field work to calculate the aerial magnitude of the glacial recession in (Km2) or loss of ice mass estimated for the period of study from 1910 to 2003 in the amount of 10.3 Km2. That amount represents 93.6% loss of the mass of the perpetual snow of the glacier, being the inter-annual loss of approximately 0,112 Km2.. For that reason, taking the extrapolation of the data, and taking the year 2006 losses of (1.2 Km2) as reference it defines an area of 0.96 Km2 for the year 2008 and predicts the disappearance of the ice and snow accumulation in approximately eight years.

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