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Tracing cryo-hydro-social transformations in the tropical Andes


Project presentation web page for the International Mountain Conference, Innsbruck, Austria, 08-12 September 2019 IMC2019 Website

Title and co-authors:

Tracing cryo-hydro-social transformations in the tropical Andes

Bryan Mark (1), Jeffrey McKenzie (2), Michel Baraer (3), Robert Hellstrom (4), Alfonso Fernandez (5), Lauren Somers (2), Kyung In Huh (6), Jeff La Frenierre (7), Oliver Wigmore (8), Forrest Schoessow (1), Laura Lautz (9)

Co-author organization(s) and webpages:

  1. Department of Geography, Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, Ohio State University - Columbus, OH, USA:  https://geography.osu.edu/people/mark.9
  2. Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University - Montreal, Canada: https://www.mcgill.ca/eps/mckenzie
  3. University of Quebec ETS - Montreal, Canada: https://www.etsmtl.ca/en/research/professors/mbaraer/
  4. Geography, Bridgewater State University - Bridgewater, MA, USA: https://www.bridgew.edu/department/geography
  5. Geography, University of Concepcion - Concepcion, Chile: http://mgsg.udec.cl/
  6. California Polytechnic State University, Pamona - Pamona, CA, USA: https://www.cpp.edu/faculty/khuh/
  7. Gustavus Adolphus College - Saint Peter, MN, USA: https://gustavus.edu/profiles/jlafreni
  8. Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand: http://www.oliverwigmore.com/
  9. Earth Sciences, Program Director in the Hydrologic Sciences Program at NSF: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-lautz-nsf

Poster abstract:

Climate change and dramatic glacier mass loss in the tropical Andes has transformed downstream hydrology, while increasing demands for water by multiple endusers even located beyond the watershed has complicated the assessment of vulnerability. Our collaborative research project has coupled multiscalar observations of changes in glacier volume, hydrology, water quality, and land usage with social and economic data about perceptions of and responses to environmental change. Here, we synthesize work conducted in proglacial valleys of glacierized mountain ranges in different regions of the tropical Andes that are in proximity to growing water usage from urban sectors, agriculture, hydroelectric generation, and mining. Our approach has focused on quantifying volume loss, and tracing runoff below glaciers through streams and groundwater exchanges. We demonstrate the importance of utilizing mixed methodologies of both physical and social sciences in international partnership. We have maintained embedded sensor observations, utilized innovative aerial platforms, integrated the analysis of both water availability and water use. We advocate that societal forces shape water usage over time, but perceptions of water availability and actual water use practices remain relatively divorced from the amount of either glacier runoff or stream flow. Natural water-rock interactions as well as human use pose threats to water quality. Social, economic and demographic changes are likely to have equal influence on glacier water resources, and attention needs to be drawn to evaluating risks and adaptation options with rigorous, data-based scenario evaluations of how management decisions impact all end users. Future scenarios of hydro-climatic vulnerability call for better understanding of coupled human and natural hydrodynamics, involving both multiscale process studies and more robust models of glacier-climate interactions.


  • 2019 Glas, R., L. Lautz, J. McKenzie, R. Moucha, J. Lane, D. Chavez and B.G. Mark. Hydrogeology of an alpine talus aquifer:  Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Hydrogeology Journal 27(6), 2137-2154. DOI: 10.1007/s10040-019-01982-5.
  • 2019 Saberi, L., R.T. McLaughlin, G.-H.C. Ng, J. LaFrenierre, A.D. Wickert, M. Baraer, W. Zhi, L. Li and B.G. Mark. Multi-scale temporal variability in meltwater contributions in  tropical glacierized watershed. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-260.
  • 2019 Wigmore, O., B.G. Mark, J. McKenzie, M. Baraer, L. and Lautz. Sub-metre mapping of surface soil moisture in proglacial valleys of the tropical Andes using a multispectral unmanned aerial vehicle. Remote Sensing of Environment 222, 104-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2018.12.024.
  • 2018 Huh, K., M. Baraër, B.G. Mark, and Y. Ahn. Evaluating Glacier Volume Changes since the Little Ice Age Maximum and Consequences for Stream Flow by Integrating Models of Glacier Flow and Hydrology in  Cordillera Blanca, Peruvian Andes. Water 10(12), 1732. doi:10.3390/w10121732.
  • 2018 Glas R., L. Lautz, J.M. McKenzie, B.G. Mark, M. Baraer, D. Chavez and L. Maharaj. A review of the current state of knowledge of proglacial hydrogeology in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. WIREs Water 2018, 5. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1299.
  • 2018 Eddy, A., B.G. Mark, M. Baraer, J. McKenzie, A. Fernandez, S. Welch and S. Fortner. Exploring patterns and controls on the hydrochemistry of proglacial streams in the upper Santa River, Peru. Revista de Glaciares y Ecosistemas de Montaña, 3: 41-57.
  • 2018 Aubry-Wake, C. †, D. Zéphir†, M. Baraer, J. M. McKenzie and B. G. Mark. Importance of longwave emissions from adjacent terrain on patterns of tropical glacier melt and recession. Journal of Glaciology 64(243), 49-60. DOI:10.1017/jog.2017.85.
  • 2018 Somers, L.D., J. M. McKenzie, S. C. Zipper, B. G. Mark, P. Lagos and M. Baraer (2018). Does hillslope trenching enhance groundwater recharge and baseflow in the Peruvian Andes? Hydrological Processes 32(3):318-331. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.11423.
  • 2018 Wigmore, O., and Mark, B.G., High altitude kite mapping: Evaluation of kite aerial photography (KAP) and structure from motion digital elevation models in the Peruvian Andes. International Journal of Remote Sensing 39 (15-16), 4995-5015. DOI: 10.1080/01431161.2017.1387312.
  • 2017 Guittard, A., M. Baraer, J.M. McKenzie, B.G. Mark, O. Wigmore, A. Fernandez, A.C. Rapre, E. Walsh, J. Bury, M. Carey, A. French and K.R. Young. Trace-metal contamination in the glacierized Rio Santa watershed, Peru. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 189, 649. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-017-6353-0.
  • 2017 Mark, B. G., A. French, M. Baraer, M. Carey, J. Bury, K. R. Young, M. H. Polk, O. Wigmore, P. Lagos, R. Crumley, J. M. McKenzie and L. Lautz (2017) Glacier loss and hydro-social risks in the Peruvian Andes. Global and Planetary Change 159, 61-76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2017.10.003.
  • 2017 Wigmore, O. and B.G. Mark. Monitoring Tropical Debris Covered Glacier Dynamics from High Resolution Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Photogrammetry, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. The Cryosphere. https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-11-2463-2017.
  • 2017 Mark, B.G. and A. Fernandez. The significance of mountain glaciers as sentinels of climate and environmental change. Geography Compass 11(6). https://doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12318.
  • 2017 Huh, K.I., B.G. Mark, Y. Ahn and C. Hopkinson. Volume change of tropical Peruvian glaciers from multi-temporal digital elevation models (DEMs) and its volume surface area scaling. Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography 99(3), 222-239.
  • 2017 Huss, M., B. Bookhagen, C. Huggel, D. Jacobsen, R. Bradley, J. Clague, M. Vuille, W. Buytaert, D. Cayan, G. Greenwood, B.G. Mark, A. Milner, R. Weingartner, M. Winder. Towards mountains without permanent snow and ice. Earth's Future 5(5), 418-435. DOI: 10.1002/2016EF000514.
  • 2017 La Frenierre, J. and B.G. Mark. Detecting Patterns of Climate Change at Volcán Chimborazo, Ecuador by Integrating Instrumental Data, Public Perceptions and Glacier Change Analysis. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 107(4), 979-997. DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2016.1270185.
  • 2017 Polk, M., K.R. Young, M. Baraer, B.G. Mark, J.M. McKenzie, J. Bury and M. Carey. Exploring hydrologic connections between tropical mountain wetlands and glacier recession. Applied Geography 78, 94-103.
  • 2017 Hellström, R.A., A. Fernandez, B.G. Mark and J. Covert. Exploring scales of mountain valley winds and lapse rates in the Peruvian Andes: hydroclimatic insights from embedded observations and dynamical downscaling. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 107, 260-273.
  • 2017 Carey, M., O. Molden, M.B. Rasmussen, M. Jackson, A. Nolin and B.G. Mark. Impacts of Glacier Recession and Declining Meltwater on Mountain Societies. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 107, 350-359.
  • 2016 Somers, L., Gordon, R., McKenzie, J., Lautz, L., Wigmore, O., Glose, A., Glas, R., Mark, B., Baraer, M., T. Condom. Quantifying groundwater-surface water interactions in a proglacial valley, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Hydrological Processes 30(17), 2915-2929. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10912.
  • 2016 Fernández, A., and B. G. Mark. Modeling modern glacier response to climate changes along the Andes Cordillera: A multiscale review. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 8(1), 467-495. DOI:10.1002/2015MS000482.
  • 2015 Aubry-Wake, C., M. Baraer, J. M. McKenzie, B. G. Mark, O. Wigmore, R. Å. Hellström, L. Lautz and L. Somers. Measuring glacier surface temperatures with ground-based thermal infrared imaging. Geophysical Research Letters 42, 8489-8497.
  • 2015 Gordon, R., L. Lautz, J.M. McKenzie, B.G. Mark, D. Chavez and M. Baraer. Sources and pathways of stream generation in tropical proglacial valleys of the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Journal of Hydrology 522, 628-644. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.01.013.
  • 2015 Baraer, M., J.M. McKenzie, B.G. Mark, R. Gordon, J. Bury, T. Condom, R.J. Gomez, S. Knox and S. Fortner. Contribution of groundwater to the outflow from ungauged glacierized catchments: a multi-site study in the tropical Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Hydrological Processes 29, 2561-2581, DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10386.
  • 2014 Wrathall, D., J. Bury, A. French, M. Carey, B.G. Mark, K. Young. Migration and climate rigidity traps: Socio-ecological possibilism and resource politics in Honduras and Peru. Annals of the Association of American Geographers (Special Edition on Migration) 104(2), 292-304.
  • 2014 Carey, M., M. Baraer, B.G. Mark, A. French, J. Bury, K. Young and J. McKenzie. Toward Hydro-Social Modeling: Merging Human Variables and the Social Sciences with Climate-Glacier Runoff Models (Santa River, Peru). Journal of Hydrology 518(A): 60-70. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.11.006.
  • 2013 La Frenierre, J. and B.G. Mark. A review of methods for estimating the contribution of glacial meltwater to total watershed discharge. Progress in Physical Geography 38(2) 173–200. DOI: 10.1177/0309133313516161.
  • 2013  Bury, J., B.G. Mark, M. Carey, K.R. Young, J.M. McKenzie, M. Baraer, A. French and M. Polk. New Geographies of Water and Climate Change in Peru: Coupled Natural and Social Transformations in the Santa River Watershed. Annals of the Association of American Geographers (Special Edition on Water) 103(2), 363-374.
  • 2012 Salzmann, N., C. Huggel, M. Rohrer, W. Silverio, B.G. Mark, P. Burns, and C. Portocarrero. Glacier changes and climate trends derived from multiple sources in the data-scarce Cordillera Vilcanota region, Southern Peruvian Andes. The Cryosphere 7, 103-118. https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-7-103-2013.
  • 2012 Huh, K.I., B.G. Mark and C. Hopkinson. Changes of topographic context of the Yanamarey glaciers in the Tropical Peruvian Andes International Association of Hydrological Sciences Redbook 352, 333-336.
  • 2012 Baraer, M., B.G. Mark, J.M. McKenzie, T. Condom, K.I. Huh, C. Portocarrero, R.J. Gomez and S. Rathay. Glacier recession and water resources in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. Journal of Glaciology 58(207), 134-150. Doi:10.3189/2012JoG11J186. WITH SPANISH TRANSLATION
  • 2011 Fortner, S., B.G. Mark, J.M. McKenzie, J. Bury, A. Trierweiler, M. Baraer, P. Burns and L. Munk. Elevated stream trace and minor element concentrations in the foreland of receding tropical glaciers. Applied Geochemistry 26, 1792-1801.
  • 2011 Bury, J., B.G. Mark, J. McKenzie, A. French†, M. Baraer, K.I. Huh, M. Zapata and J. Gomez. Glacier recession and human vulnerability in the Yanamarey watershed of the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Climatic Change, 105(1-2): 179-206.
  • 2010 Mark, B.G., J. Bury, J.M. McKenzie, A. French and M. Baraer. Climate Change and Tropical Andean Glacier Recession: Evaluating Hydrologic Changes and Livelihood Vulnerability in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Annals of the Association of American Geographers (Special Issue: Climate Change) 100(4), 794-805.