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Posted Tue Sep 21 2010: from Inter Press Service:
ARGENTINA: Fighting to Save Glaciers as They Retreat
BUENOS AIRES, Sep 19 (IPS) - Argentina's glaciers, along with Chile's the most extensive of South America, manifest the damage caused by climate change, while they also face threats from mining and major transportation infrastructure projects. A law to protect them has been postponed yet again. Glaciers are vast reserves of freshwater, vital for feeding rivers, lakes and underground water tables. But rising global temperatures are shrinking their ability to serve that function. "Climate change is the main cause of glacier retraction, but also affecting them are the petroleum industry, large-scale mining, high-impact tourism and infrastructure projects," glaciologist Ricardo Villalba, director of the Argentine Institute of Snow and Glacier Research and Environmental Sciences (IANIGLA), told Tierramerica. From 1984 to 2004, glacier decline in eight areas studied averaged between 10 and 15 percent, he said. In some cases, the loss was greater, such as the Upsala glacier, in the southern province of Santa Cruz, which is shrinking rapidly. It is the second largest glacier in South America, with an area of approximately 870 square kilometres.
[Read more stories about: anthropogenic change, economic myopia, ecosystem interrelationships, melting glaciers]

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