LIMA, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Stepped up global warming is eroding glaciers in South America's Andean mountain range, Peruvian expert Erick Soriano warned on Thursday.
According to the president of a special commission at the National Glacier and Mountainous Ecosystems Research Institute (Inaigem), "the loss of glacial mass has accelerated."
"We are experiencing a period of very aggressive climate change and the possibility that we will continue to lose glacial mass is imminent," Soriano told Xinhua.
Soriano spoke of the phenomenon at the start of a two-day regional conference in Lima on public policy to address the problem.
Peru has lost about 50 percent of its glaciers in the past 40 years and "if the trend continues, the situation would be serious," said Soriano.
The glaciers are a vital source of freshwater, he noted, calling for the construction of large reservoirs to capture the runoff and for reforestation to attract more rainwater.
"Water is an essential element for the country's development, we have to learn to conserve it, treat it and use it rationally," he said.
Southern Peru has already lost three medium-size glaciers, leading to shortages of water in surrounding communities and more migration to the cities.
Peru's glaciers are especially vulnerable to rising temperatures because the Peruvian Andes are close to the tropics, he said.
Experts from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador attended the event.