Sampling Snow in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru

June 12, 2017

SnowSampling_Trabajando-Pie-San Juan (1)

Photographer: Wilmer Esteban Sanchez Rodriguez
Summary Author: Wilmer Esteban Sanchez Rodriguez

This photo shows a researcher sampling snow in the Andes Mountains (Cordillera Blanca) of Peru to quantify the particles found in snow packs here that effectively absorb solar energy. These particles, including dust, ash and soot, have an impact on the accelerated loss of glacier snow since as they absorb sunlight they emit heat. Many of the particulates collected are produced in large cities. Air pollution is regional; the main cities of Peru contribute significantly to the particle load. During my sampling I've observed that during the dry seasons glaciers are noticeably dirty, especially when forest fires have been prevalent. Glaciologists and mountain climbers are always wary of crevasses, such as the one in the foreground. Photo taken on January 24, 2016.