Landscape Changes

Recession of the Paco Pampa and Ausengate Glaciers in Peru

Andrew Brown and Austin Jordan

The basis of our studies in CAUSE 2016 is the impact of glacier recession on ecosystems and communities in Peru and Alaska. This course gave us the opportunity to witness these magnificent glaciers (or what’s left of them) firsthand. So, for our research project, we wanted to go back as far as we could and use ArcGIS mapping software to quantify how much the glaciers have receded up until now.

We found archived satellite imagery online from Landsat via the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Landsat satellites have been collecting images of Earth since 1972. This has provided some great imagery across multiple decades from our sites in Peru and Alaska. We are working on importing this imagery into ArcGIS, where we will estimate the surface area covered by ice, and compare these values over many years.

The glaciers in Alaska have been recorded and studied much more in the past, so our main goal is to analyze the glaciers we saw in Peru. By the end of our research project, we hope to have numbers to attach to this phenomenon that is a foundation of our course.