Colombia has roughly 30 years left to enjoy its glacial range, scientists from the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (Ideam) reported Thursday.
Detailed in a thorough presentation, the effects of climate change have spelled the end of the country’s icy mountains which have cooled the region’s temperatures and withstood thousands of years.
Scientists charted the reduction of 8.4 sq km between 2010 and 2017 of the snow-capped mountains in Simon Bolivar Park in Bogota, while in Los Nevados National Nature Park experts stood aghast as 37 percent of the Nevado Santa Isabel glacial volcano melted away in the course of two years – a rate never seen before.
The icy peaks of Ruiz in Tolima and across the mountain range of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta have each shrunk about seven percent between 2016 and 2017. Even Nevado del Huila Volcano, despite its active state, has seen its own reduction of approximately 2.7 sq km.
"This panorama is attributed to multiple causes, among them, the special sensitivity of these equatorial snows to the global, regional and local climatic conditions, and physical geographical peculiarities, such as differences in the height of the glaciers," Ideam Director Omar Franco said.
However, the glaciers in the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy (also known as Guican National Natural Park) are maintaining a relatively stable condition "with an annual duration of 4.8 percent since 2017 thanks to copious amounts of snowfall," scientists said.
Still, Ideam experts say in 30 more years, Colombia's spectacular glaciers will be a thing of the past and, though this phenomenon is currently being experienced on a global scale, Colombia will be the first in the Andean region to kiss their crystal mountains goodbye.