Societal Impacts of Glacier Melt in the Andes (SIGMA): Peru

Welcome to the SIGMA website. We are a UK-Peru collaboration investigating the downstream consequences of Andean glacier change for water resources in the Rio Santa Catchment, Peru.

SIGMA is an interdisciplinary, international science project focusing on the water, food and energy security impacts of climate change on glacier-fed rivers in Peru, South America.

This Newton Fund (UK NERC and Peru CONCYTEC) funded research project is being led by the University of Plymouth (UK) and the Instituto Geofísico del Perú (Peru).

Motivation for our research

A growing population, combined with changes to water availability and quantity due to climate change, is increasing the pressure on dwindling water supplies in the Peruvian Andes. Glaciers provide a critical water supplies to millions living in the South America, acting as buffers to Andean water supplies as they contribute slowly releasing water throughout the wet, and dry, season for drinking water, agriculture, hydroelectricity and industry. Holding over 70% of the world’s tropical ice glaciers, Peru is at the heart of this water security concern as glaciers in the region are rapidly retreating.

Our project seeks to evaluate the past, present and future problems associated with glacial retreat in Peru, with regards to water quantity and quality, and study the impacts on basin-wide water, food and energy security. Working collaboratively between the UK and Peruvian researchers, and between natural and social sciences, the project aims to develop strategies to improve water security in the region for local people, industry and agriculture.

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We will be regularly updating our blog with articles and videos about our research, fieldwork, and outreach activities!

Project partners