PISAC Home Page

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PISAC (Pollution and its Impact on the South American Cryosphere)

The PISAC initiative was created by a team of multidisciplinary scientists and policy experts in the regions surrounding the Andes, as well as international experts.

Recent scientific evidence indicates that the Andean and Patagonian glacial regions have already shown the impacts of rapid climate change with receding glaciers and snow cover. Andean glaciers and snow fall constitute the most important source of fresh water for countries along the western coast of South America. Thus glacier retreat and changes in snow fall could have potentially large implications for water resources and local agriculture, especially for local indigenous populations living in high altitude communities as well as for large urban centers at relatively lower surrounding altitudes.

The overall goal of the PISAC initiative is to investigate key sources and impacts of black carbon and co-pollutant emissions in the Andean regions, aiming at designing observation sites and research activities to close knowledge gaps and to address mitigation measures for near-term climate protection and air quality improvement.

A White Paper addressing emissions, measurements, monitoring, modeling and policy implications is being developed.  Several field studies related to PISAC are also underway.


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The Andes is the longest continental mountain range in the world, about 7,000 km long, ~ 200 km to 700 km wide, average height of ~ 4,000 m. The Andes extends from north to south through seven South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

The region has complex topography, covering several climate zones, diversity of ecosystems and communities. A variety of sources emitted along the Andes, with varied cultural and behavioral aspects.

*click to enlarge images


PISAC - Andes Gallery


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A team of science and policy experts in the regions surrounding the Andes, as well as international experts, met on October 10-11, 2013, to discuss the production of a White Paper addressing emissions sources, measurements and transport of pollutants, monitoring stations, modeling potential impacts of black carbon and co-pollutants on the Andean cryosphere, as well as policy measures addressing the impacts.