Satellite images show sparse snow and bare ground on some peaks of the South American mountain range.
Areas of the Andes mountain range in South America are seeing little or no snow at a time when snowfall should be at its highest.
Satellite images show that many of the mountains in the famous range, which run along the western edge of the continent, have either sparse snow or completely bare plains, Reuters reported.
“Here we are seeing a long-term reduction in rainfall, a process of a mega-drought,” Ricardo Villalba of the Argentine Institute of Snow, Glacier and Environment Science Studies told Reuters. “If you look at the rainfall levels for the whole of the Cordillera right now [Andes range], they show that there is either no snow at all or very little snow.”
Because it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the mountain range should see extreme snowfall. Scientists attribute the decades-old drought to human-caused climate change.
a study published in June Droughts and other extreme weather events across South America are predicted to worsen if greenhouse gas emissions remain unchecked.
“South America and Brazil in particular are already showing signs of climate change, including increased surface temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, melting of glaciers in the Andes and more frequent and intense extreme weather events.” Lincoln Muniz Alves, a researcher at Brazil’s National Space Research Institute, said in a news release. “These changes in climate characteristics are harbingers of what will happen in the coming decades if the unprecedented increase in greenhouse gas emissions continues.”
a Historic drought is knocking together The western US, which is seeing dwindling water supplies and a growing threat of wildfires, has been made worse by exceptionally hot and dry conditions.