LIMA – The Incachiriasca glacier, located on the Vilcabamba mountain range in the Peruvian region of Cuzco, has retreated some 62 meters (203 feet) over the past eight years due to the effects of climate change, the head of the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary, Jose Nieto, told EFE.
The Incachiriasca glacier in 2007, the year measurements were first taken, covered a total area of 650,000 sq. meters (7 million sq. feet).
Nieto said the main effect of Incachiriasca’s decreasing mass of ice, which lies within the jurisdiction of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, will be the reduction of water resources in the area.
“The shrinking of the glacier will affect agriculture and power generation inside the Machu Picchu Sanctuary,” Nieto said.
Faced with these results, the directors of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary decided to intensify its monitoring of the glacier, particularly during the change of seasons.
“To reduce the impact of climate change, the government is working to recover ecosystems through reforestation and the conservation of protected natural areas that represent 17 percent of Peruvian territory,” Nieto said.
Monitoring Incachiriasca glacier is part of the work done by the National Service for Protected Natural Areas, or Sernanp, in the Peruvian Andes to detect the evolution and shrinkage of glaciers as a result of global warming.
The Vilcabamba mountain range has lost 63.6 percent of its glacier area, which signifies an overall retreat of 21.9 kilometers (13½ miles), according to figures of the National Water Authority, or ANA.