1Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lehigh University, 1 West Packer Ave., Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA
2Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University, 1090 Carmack Road, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA
3Geology Dept., Union College, Schenectady, NY 12308, USA
Abstract. The Cordilleras Huayhuash and Raura are remote glacierized ranges in the Andes Mountains of Peru. A robust assessment of modern glacier change is important for understanding how regional change affects Andean communities, and for placing paleo-glaciers in a context relative to modern glaciation and climate. Snowline altitudes (SLAs) derived from satellite imagery are used as a proxy for modern (1986–2005) local climate change in a key transition zone in the Andes.
Clear sky, dry season Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+) satellite images from 1986–2005 were used to identify snowline positions, and their altitude ranges were extracted from an Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) DEM. Based on satellite records from 31 glaciers, mean snowline altitudes (SLAs), an approximation for the equilibrium line altitudes (ELAs), for the Cordillera Huayhuash (13 glaciers) and Cordillera Raura (18 glaciers) were 5046 m a.s.l. and 5013 m a.s.l., respectively, from 1986–2005. The rate of SLA rise was 25 m/decade in the Cordillera Huayhuash and 62 m/decade in the Cordillera Raura.