Leading UK scientists fear that one of South America’s leading natural tourist destinations, the San Rafael Glacier in Patagonian Chile, which is renowned for the spectacular way in which it releases icebergs into the San Rafael Laguna, may soon retreat to a point where it no longer reaches the sea. This, they warn, might remove one of the main reasons why thousands of tourists travel to this remote corner of Chile every year.
The glaciologists have been studying the San Rafael Glacier, one of the fastest-moving glaciers in the world, and others in the Northern Patagonian Icecap, for the past 13 years. Following their recent visit there on a research project with Raleigh International, Dr Neil Glasser and Dr Krister Jansson from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and Dr Stephan Harrison from Oxford University have revealed that the ice front of the glacier has receded over 1km since the early 1990s and iceberg calving activity has been dramatically reduced.
Dr Neil Glasser said, “The San Rafael glacier is an amazing natural phenomenon which flows from an altitude of 3000 metres to the San Rafael Laguna at sea level. In latitude terms an equivalent glacier in the northern hemisphere would flow into the Mediteranean. This means that the glacier is a very sensitive barometer of global climate change.”
Arthur Dafis | alfa
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