MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s glaciers are condemned to disappear because of climate change, Hugo Delgado, director of the Geophysics Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), said on Thursday.
The expert warned that, as global warming continues, it will become impossible to avoid the disappearance of glaciers in Mexico, adding that the Popocatepetl volcano glacier had already vanished.
“The freezing temperature that allows ice to remain on the summits of our volcanoes will soon no longer endure, meaning that Mexican glaciers will have no way to survive,” Delgado explained in a bulletin published by the Scientific and Technological Consultative Forum (FCCyT), an advisory agency of the Mexican government.
Delgado, who is Mexico’s correspondent to the World Glacier Monitoring Service, added that the Iztaccihuatl volcano glaciers “will most likely, in the next five to ten years, become small bodies of ice and also be declared extinct.”
The scientist recognized, however, that it is “very hard to make an exact prediction, but if current trends continue, the glaciers will disappear.”
The glacier on the Pico de Orizaba, the highest mountain in Mexico, is in a better situation because it is not surrounded by industrial areas, as in the case of two former volcanoes.
“It rises to 5,570 meters (18,274.3 feet) above sea level, which means its glacial system might last another few decades,” he said.
One of the impacts of the disappearance of glaciers is that crucial sources of water may run dry, because, during the dry season, ice melt from glaciers feeds streams, rivers and aquifers.