El Centro de Investigaciones en Ingeniería Ambiental y el Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambiental de la Universidad de los Andes, organizaron la presentación “Climate change impacts on water resources in the tropical Andes” a cargo del Dr. Wouter Buytaertel el 18 de marzo de 2013.
The tropical Andes provide many ecosystem services to its inhabitants. Of those, water supply is one of the most important. Paramos, glaciers and cloud forests all have an excellent water storage and regulation capacity. As such they are real water towers for people in the altiplanos, interandean valleys and coastal lowlands. However, these ecosystems are extremely vulnerable to environmental change. Local land-use changes may disturb vegetation and degrade soils. Increased economic activities such as cattle grazing and mining may contaminate water streams. And on a larger scale, global climate change is expected to be stronger at high altitudes. It may change precipitation patterns, evapotranspiration, and other crucial hydrological processes. In this seminar, an overview of more than a decade of research on the hydrological processes of the tropical Andes will be presented, with a particular attention of the impact of climate change on ecosystems such as the paramos, jalcas, and glaciers, and the consequences for future water resources in the region.