Grantham Scholar Charlotte Curry is researching glaciers in the Andes and changes to them caused by mining and climate change and how this may impact water resources.
Anthropogenic activity is causing glaciers to change rapidly across the Andes.
Firstly, as global temperatures rise, mountain glaciers are generally shrinking in response to warmer atmospheric conditions and reduced snowfall.
Secondly, the extraction and use of natural resources drives increased atmospheric pollution through the production of dust and vehicle emissions, resulting in enhanced melting where glaciers are in close proximity to active mines.
Despite the obvious importance of glaciers as drought-resistant water resources in this arid region, the impact of mining on short-term glacier behaviour and longer-term regional water supplies is poorly understood.
My project seeks to assess the impacts that mining and climatic shifts over the last 40,000 years have had on glaciers in the Andes, to assess glacier change in the past, establish their current volume and recent evolution, and project their future recession and the impact this will have for water resources.
You can find Charlotte on Twitter.