GlacierHub reported last week that the glacier of Pico Humboldt will probably disappear within the next 20 years. Out of the five glaciers there used to be in Venezuela, only the one in Pico Humboldt remains.

This is more than losing some snow:

“In the past, studies have shown how rapid glacier retreat affects the water cycle in glacier-dependent basins, which changes water regulation and availability.”

And sadly, with the current crisis, Venezuelan scientists can’t do much about it:

“Ángel G. Muñoz, a postdoctoral research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Columbia University, and Princeton University added that many factors impede scientific research in Venezuela. The economic situation in universities, research centers, and in the country as a whole, including the crime and the brain drain, are just a few of the factors involved in making it impossible for local scientists to advance in many fields.”

You can read more about it over at GlacierHub or check out the thought-provoking piece The Economist published last month.

Since the 1970’s, glaciers in our country have been disappearing due to climate change. In that time, the one in Pico Humboldt has reduced to a tenth of its size. Though we hardly are the only ones affected by climate change, once this is gone we’ll become the first modern nation to lose our glaciers.

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Freelance journalist, speculative fiction writer, college professor, political junkie, lover of books and movies and, semi-professional dilettante. José has written for NPR's Latino USA, Americas Quarterly, Into and ViceVersa Magazine.

25 COMMENTS

  1. “A little dicey.” That would be an English scientist describing a Venezuelan catastrophe. Wrapped within our shared catastrophe.

  2. The situation of Venezuela is catastrophic enough without adding to it non issues. These glaciers have been melting for a long time. Let comrade Francis deal with that one.

  3. Hard to blame this one on Chavismo. If you believe the glaciers are melting because of people burning fossil fuels, Thanks to Chavismo, VE burns less gas, and pumps less oil out of the ground, than they used to. By confiscating and wrecking factories, less ice-melting CO2 production goes down. If anything, Chavismo doing more than its share of cutting back.

  4. Not only are the glaciers receding in Pico Humboldt, second highest peak in Venezuela (4.940 meters), but now Pico Bolivar, highest peak of Venezuela which was reported in textbooks for many years as having 5.007 Meters, now has recently shrunk to 4.985 Meters, after its height was revised with more accurate measurements (With GPS, satellites, etc….)

    Ascent to Pico Humboldt is a nice trek, even for non experts, requires 3 – 4 days.

    See a picture of he Glacier at Pico Humboldt here:
    https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pico_Humboldt#/media/File:Glacial_Pico_Humboldt_4.JPG

    Akanan tours ascent in english:
    http://www.akanan.com/tour_35_Humboldt-Peak

    Check two nice ascent accounts (In Spanish) here:

    http://rosawestermeyer.blogspot.com/2011/04/pico-humboldt-4950-msnm.html

    http://alfredoautiero.blogspot.com/2012/02/pico-humboldt-una-montana-de-lujo.html

    • Not a single mention of Trump, the US, or leftism, but here you are triggered because “climate change” was mentioned. You’re a caricature of an American conservative.

      • Let’s see, which would I rather be, an American conservative or a Venezuelan leftist? Guess I’d have to go with a Venezuelan leftist as that’s worked out so well for the country.

          • Kepler’s got the right of it. “Conservative” and “Liberal”, “Left” and “Right” stop mattering when the guy at the top is a narcissist with no regard for the rules.

          • Escualidus, would your words apply to a US president who had an American citizen executed without a day in court, or without having ever even been charged with a crime?

          • I see. You’re an expert on science and on the law. What a talented man you are. What a waste that you find yourself sitting on your ass all day, raging at Canadians and complaining about the help.

        • The Chavista and the Trumpista share three traits: a shameless indifference to reality, an idolatry of a buffoonish but harmful leader, and a belief that the world is divided into two tribes: them, and us.

          • Here’s a dose of reality for you cannuck. We were told by liberals that Trump was nothing more than a liberal wolf dressed in conservative sheep’s clothing and he’d screw us all once he took office. Well, how’s that working out for ya? The hysterical shrieking by the left continues unabated.

            Trump is reshaping the US judiciary in a manner that will have lasting, positive, effects for decades to come…..appointing judges who rule on the law, not making up laws from the bench because the left can’t get them passed by legislatures. Makes me a happy man. More Trump for me.

            It’s a hoot though that you preach to us about “a shameless indifference to reality” as you call for constitutional and electoral means to oust Maduro. Buffoon indeed.

  5. Behold! Reference to science, and here they appear, the dinosaurs with their pea brains, marking their territory and happily eating each other’s poop.

    The internet is a wondrous world.

  6. Just throwing this outhere, I feel like we should raise this case to the United Nations and get some funds to try to preserve the glacier.

    http://www.greenclimate.fund/
    http://www.greenclimate.fund/what-we-do/projects-programmes

    Maybe some scientist along with others might want to organize and request the UN Environment commision funds to start a research project on the subject of how to prevent the Merida glacier from melting.

    Who can volunteer for this mission?

  7. Additional to dissapearing glaciers, our Pico Bolivar had some meters dissapear from its height, from 5.007 to 4.985 meters due to better measurements … Pico Humboldt (#2) has 4.940 mts Google Rosa Westermeyer and Pico Humboldt and you will get her account of her ascent to Pico Humboldt and some good pictures, also google Alfreoi Autiero and Pico Humboldt. I am not showing the links because for some reason the comment gets flagged down,,,

  8. I have tried posting several times to explain that numerous studies of lake sediments (clastics and organics) indicate that these are transient tropical glaciers whose main accumulation period started only about 800 years ago, with the onset of cooling down to the LIA. The last main ablation period began after the Younger Dryas about 11,500 years ago. By the time of the holocene climate optimum about 6000 years ago the glacial valleys were ice-free and dry. After that they reappeared and disappeared several times before starting their main recent accumulation about 800 years ago. They have been generally ablating now for about 300 years with some ups and downs. They sit on the northern limit of the ITCZ which makes them highly sensitive to changes in climate, not just temperature but the multidecadal and multicentury variation in latitudinal extent of the ITCZ.

    The main tragedy is that the polar bears which live on the glaciers now can’t find fish.

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