The Perito Moreno Glacier represents the largest ice surface found in the entire southern hemisphere of the planet except Antarctica.
The glacier has an area of more than 12,000 square kilometers and is one of the largest freshwater reservoirs in Patagonia. These formations benefit the planet during the driest times of the year as they provide water by reducing their volume. With the rain it then returns to its original size.
This huge mass of crystalline ice has walls almost 60 meters high and its thinning movements take place north of the Canal de los Témpanos. In recent years, various satellite monitoring and ground radar measurements have been carried out that confirm that the “equilibrium” that this Santa Cruz giant has enjoyed for almost half a century is at an end.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is out of balance
For decades, the thickness of the frozen layer periodically increased and decreased without affecting its overall volume. Lucas Ruiz, member of the Argentine Institute of Civil, Glaciological and Environmental Sciences and researcher at Conicet, explained: “What is happening is due to the burning of fossil fuels. The concentration of these gases in the atmosphere is very high, higher than it has been for two million years, causing unusual warming“.
“Taking measurements in an area where large glaciers accumulate in the Southern Ice Field requires extensive training, the assembly of a special team, helicopters and involves the risks of traveling to a remote area.“says the scientist who visits this ice colossus every year to study its development.
“Argentina used a German aircraft to conduct research to better understand glacial changes in the vast ice fields of Patagonia. Glaciers are an increasingly rare type of freshwater reservoir“Ruiz concluded.
For his part, the geologist Andrés Folgueras said: “The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the few glaciers that has not yet retreated. However, since 2020 we have observed an overall decline. The increase in carbon emissions cannot be ignored because humans have an impact on the environment through their industrial activities. The reasons are still unclear, as other factors may also contribute, but those who still deny global warming today are a minority.“.
With information from: