Lately, glaciers have been subjects of unceasing controversy. Current debate about planned hydroelectric facilitiesa US$7- to $10-billion megaprojectin a pristine glacierized area of Patagonia, Chile [Romero Toledo et al., 2009; Vince, 2010], has raised anew the matter of how glaciologists and global change experts can contribute their knowledge to civic debates on important issues. There has been greater respect for science in this controversy than in some previous debates over projects that pertain to glaciers, although valid economic motivations again could trump science and drive a solution to the energy supply problem before the associated safety and environmental problems are understood. The connection between glaciers and climate changeboth anthropogenic and naturalis fundamental to glaciology and to glaciers' practical importance for water and hydropower resources, agriculture, tourism, mining, natural hazards, ecosystem conservation, and sea level [Buytaert et al., 2010; Glasser et al., 2011]. The conflict between conservation and development can be sharper in glacierized regions than almost anywhere else. Glaciers occur in spectacular natural landscapes, but they also supply prodigious exploitable meltwater.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)