Authors: Charles Rodda*, Climate Change Institute
Topics: South America, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru, Climate Change, Water Resources
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Regent, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
The Cordillera Vilcanota (CV) is high and arid, with weather patterns often out-of-phase with surrounding areas. Recent climate change has caused significant glacier retreat, and continued climate change threatens to totally collapse natural water retention systems that store limited annual wet-season precipitation in glaciers and release it during the dry season. This dry season release is critical locally for agricultural and household uses, and downstream for industrial and agricultural purposes and electrical generation. We consider the natural bounds of the climate system in CV over the last 2,000 years using multiple paleoclimate proxy records; assess annual and seasonal trends over the last 60 years using weather station and satellite-based reanalysis models; and consider climate anomalies in the hottest years of the modern record (1979-2015) as analogs for a warming climate. Our modern analog technique is in general agreement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Community Climate System Model (CCSM) results, but it improves on CCSM predictions by its higher spatial and temporal resolution. We also consider other anomalous modern conditions (strong and weak winds, precipitation variability) to predict other aspects of CV future climate. Nearly ubiquitous terrestrial warming trends have dominated the Central Andes over the late 20th and 21st centuries, based on weather station and satellite records, while precipitation patterns are significantly more complex. Future wet season glacier growth in CV is likely to decrease; increasing the likelihood that human infrastructure will be needed to impound wet-season precipitation for human use.