Disaster is approaching: the first country in the world to lose all its glaciers

12.05.2024/19/30 XNUMX:XNUMX    378

Venezuela became the first modern country to completely lose glaciers on its territory. A century ago, she could boast of six glaciers.

Back in the 1950s, Venezuela hosted cross-country skiing competitions. Now such events will remain only a part of the country's history. In 1910, the South American country could boast of six glaciers with a total area of ​​1000 square kilometers. By 2011, five of these glaciers had already disappeared. The last of these, the Humboldt Glacier, has already turned into chunks of ice that no longer meet the requirements to be classified as glaciers.

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"Our last expedition to the area was in December 2023, and we noticed that the glacier had lost about two hectares compared to the previous visit in 2019 [and had shrunk from four hectares] to less than two hectares now," noted the University of the Andes researcher (ULA) Luis Daniel Llamby in commentary The Guardian.

In December, the Venezuelan government arranged to cover the Humboldt Glacier with a geotextile covering in hopes of isolating and protecting it. Not only did the plan fail, but it also drew the ire of conservationists, who say the ill-advised strategy could pollute the ecosystem as the fabric eventually breaks down into microplastics.

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Studies conducted in recent years have shown that the ice sheet in Venezuela has decreased by 98% between 1953 and 2019. The rate of ice loss accelerated rapidly after 1998, peaking at about 17% per year starting in 2016.