desertification

Climate

The project is located east of the Andes between the lake General Carrera and the Northern ice field.

The valley has continental trans-andean temperate cold boreal climate, with cold boreal forest and progressive change into shrub steppes, as result of deforestation and overgrazing.

The valley is the coldest in the region. It has its own microclimate, less vulnerable to climate change. It might, eventually, provide for an option of a “temporal corridor” in conservation under climate change.

The moderating effect of the lake General Carrera: the valley has less extreme weather than places further away from the lake, for example cities of Coyhaique and Balmaceda.

Due to massive deforestation the usual climate-modulating effect of forests is absent, however the trees do not absorb as much CO2 as expected.

There is no point in looking for signals from previous climate changes in the valley, as any of these have been swamped by the destructive fires and other anthropogenic impacts from the last 70 years.


The local climate is more resilient to climate change thanks to the Andes mountain chain, which favors stable ecosystems. It also allows a significant decrease in rainfall compared to the sector of archipelagos on the same latitude.

In this sector the weather is dominated by two factors. The first, and there is no equivalent part in the world in which this factor plays such a crucial role, is the very strong and highly predominant west wind while the second one are the Andes and their ice fields. The area has strong west winds year-round without any major positive or negative deviation, i.e. they are nearly evenly distributed over the different seasons, the region is called the "roaring forties", although these terms were minted for the oceanic environment. These year-round strong winds put the vegetation under stress due to enhanced evapotranspiration.

Temperatures are generally low, January having the highest and July the lowest temperatures. In winter, temperatures normally fall below 0 ° C, with frequent snowfall. In summer, high temperatures attributed to the effect of continentality, are attenuated by strong winds. In the region the cold is a strong limiting factor, reducing the warm season to 4-5 and sometimes just to 2-3 months only. There are only small seasonal changes in the temperature regime in contrast to the same latitude in the northern hemisphere, but "all the seasons can be observed in a single day” which is absolutely true in the project.

The project registered:


The strongest wind was 71 m/s or 200 km/h- just a gust.

It is not unusual to have sustained winds of 20 -25 m/s or 80 km/h.


There were extreme rain events in August 2010 and again in May 2011, resulting in with floods and landslides.


Recent thunderstorms, unknown until recently in the region, are due to climate change.

Global fire emissions database.

landslide in valley Leones

landslide in the valley 2011

Weather forecast sites usually underestimate the influence of the Northern Patagonian ice field on the valley and forecast more precipitations and less wind than in reality.

Contribution of the region to the climate change:

  1. Massive deforestation by fire = drastic reduction in greenhouse gases absorption;

  2. Clearing fires of last century = a region-wide increase of emissions. Fires accelerate global warming because of

   the enormous quantities of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere;

  1. Rapid development of uncontrolled tourism = present increase in CO2 emissions.

  2. Change of land use for agriculture is a major contributor to climate change,

                Changes in land use and climate change.pdf

  1. Massive draining of wetlands in the region contributed to climate change,

Large influence of soil moisture on long-term terrestrial carbon uptake.pdf

  1. Livestock = 55% of the greenhouse gas emitted by agriculture come from livestock.

  2. Massive wetland’s sphagnum mining in the region (legal and illegal) undermines its carbon storage potential.

  3. Soil and moisture have a great influence on climate: the soil of the valley, and of the area, is seriously degraded.


Climate change, quite visible in the valley and the region, is being taken into account in order to anticipate pressure on the reforestation project.  The project is studying ancient climates, as by 2030 the global climate of the Earth will look like that of three millions years ago: Le climat de la Terre va ressembler à celui d'il y a trois millions d'années.pdf

Rewild to mitigate the climate crisis

The hole in the ozone layer over the region affects the climate of the region more than do the greenhouse gases, this phenomenon might persist until 2050-2060.

'Ghastly future of mass extinction' and climate disruption.

Influences:

- The Southern Ocean is expelling massive quantities of CO2, Massive ocean carbon sink spotted burping CO2 on the sly.pdf, also World’s oceans are losing power to stall climate change (United Nations);

  1. -El Niño effects are generally more prominent in the region, El Niño events will intensify under global warming.pdf.

For restoration:

  1. -Extreme weather episodes, resulting from climate change, change the ecosystems: annual species can adapt, not the perennial ones.

  2. -In the era of climate change reference ecosystems in restoration become irrelevant.

  3. -The major problem of climate change in protected areas is destruction of the forest and of the quality of the forest.


Earth is having fever and we are the virus - adapted from James Lovelock.

“The impact of melting glaciers will have a catastrophic effect in Chile, unlike in other regions of the world”,

Prof. Martin Beniston, University of Geneva


World is at its hottest for at least 12,000 years


CO2 in Earth's atmosphere nearing levels of 15m years ago