Casey Decker (’18) and Dr. Jeff LaFrenierre study effects of climate change on Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador

Posted on August 8th, 2016 by

As glaciers worldwide retreat due to accelerating climate change, understanding their role in watershed hydrology is critically important if downstream water users are to be able to adapt to new conditions. Glaciers exist even in the tropics, where the high Andes reach elevations well over 20,000 feet. Dr. Jeff La Frenierre and students from the geography department and the¬†environmental studies program, are studying glaciers in Ecuador to document the rate at which they are changing, and predict how these changes will impact the rural agrarian communities that rely on mountain waters for domestic uses and crop irrigation. This summer, Dr. La Frenierre was joined by Casey Decker (’18) and research collaborators from the University of Minnesota to construct new weather monitoring stations around Ecuador’s tallest mountain, 20,500-foot Volcan Chimborazo, install ice melt sensors on two of its glaciers, and to take samples of surface water, groundwater, precipitation, and glacier melt for hydrochemical analysis. This project, which will continue for several more years, will hopefully provide much needed information to those water users who are already experiencing the impacts of climate change in this beautiful yet unforgiving landscape.

Casey Decker ('18)

Casey Decker (’18)

Dr. Jeff LaFrenierre

Dr. Jeff LaFrenierre

 

Comments are closed.