Bolivia Climate Change Monthly: October 2013

INESADWelcome to the October 2013 edition of Bolivia Climate Change Monthly where you will find the latest research, policy, donor activity, and news related to climate change in Bolivia*.

Academic Research Bolivia Climate Change

Palaeoecology of brachiopod communities during the late Paleozoic ice age in Bolivia by Badyrka, K., Clapham, M. E., & López, S., published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Abstract: Studies of modern ecological communities demonstrate that climate change may trigger changes in diversity and taxonomic composition; however, these studies are fundamentally limited to short timescales and therefore cannot demonstrate the full impact of major climate change. Understanding the ecological response of marine invertebrate communities to the Late Paleozoic Ice Age (LPIA), the last complete transition from icehouse to greenhouse, can establish a more complete picture of the climate–faunal relationship. We analyzed brachiopod community structure in Moscovian–Sakmarian (mid-Pennsylvanian to Early Permian) samples spanning the greatest extent of the LPIA, collected from four localities of the Copacabana Formation in Bolivia: Ancoraimes, Yaurichambi, Cuyavi, and Yampupata. Cluster analysis reveals three main groups that appear to coincide with pre-, syn-, and post-glacial times. Genus richness was significantly greater in samples during the Asselian glacial episode; however, the difference may be due to a combination of smaller body size and time averaged mixing of genera from different depths during more rapid glacioeustatic sea level change. Genera present in Bolivia consistently had warm-water affinities, even during the main glaciation, but warm-water taxa increased in abundance over time and the samples became increasingly dominated by characteristically North American genera. Overall mean body size and the size of particular genera were smaller in the Asselian cluster. These size changes likely reflect variations in substrate because marine invertebrates should be larger at cooler temperatures due to oxygen limitation at higher temperatures. The monotonic increase in abundance of warm-water genera and increasingly North American biogeographic affinity imply that community change was most likely the result of the northward drift of Bolivia rather than a response to late Paleozoic glacial–nonglacial cycles. This lack of climate related faunal change was probably a result of Bolivia’s mid-latitude location during the late Paleozoic because both the rate of temperature change and its magnitude were likely smaller at lower latitudes, reducing the impact of climate change on marine communities.

Climate trends and projections for the Andean Altiplano and strategies for adaptation by Valdivia, C., Thibeault, J., Gilles, J. L., García, M., & Seth, A., published in Advances in Geosciences.

Abstract: Climate variability and change impact production in rainfed agricultural systems of the Bolivian highlands. Maximum temperature trends are increasing for the Altiplano. Minimum temperature increases are significant in the northern region, and decreases are significant in the southern region. Producers’ perceptions of climate hazards are high in the central region, while concerns with changing climate and unemployment are high in the north. Similar high-risk perceptions involve pests and diseases in both regions. Altiplano climate projections for end-of-century highlights include increases in temperature, extreme event frequency, change in the timing of rainfall, and reduction of soil humidity. Successful adaptation to these changes will require the development of links between the knowledge systems of producers and scientists. Two-way participatory approaches to develop capacity and information that involve decision makers and scientists are appropriate approaches in this context of increased risk, uncertainty and vulnerability.

Characterization of recent glacier decline in the Cordillera Real by LANDSAT, ALOS, and ASTER data by Liu, T., Kinouchi, T., &  Ledezma, F., published in Remote Sensing of Environment.

Abstract: The changing sizes of glaciers in the Cordillera Real (16.2°S, 68.2°W), Bolivian Andes, between 1987 and 2010 were determined by a band ratio method using cloud-free LANDSAT TM and ALOS AVNIR-2 data. From 1987 to 2010, glacier-covered areas in the Cordillera Real were found to have diminished by more than 30%. The rate of glacierized area shrinkage within this Andean region, and particularly of its glaciers, has significantly increased in the past 5 years. To characterize the change in glacierized area, a changing factork was introduced to capture the effects of topographic factors, including elevation, slope angle, and aspect as identified using ASTER 30-m Global DEM data on the Huayna Potosi, Mururata, Charquini, Illimani, and Serkhe Khollu glaciers. This study also further analyzed the Huayna Potosi glacier and discussed the inhomogeneity of changes in its area with elevation, slope, aspect, and the distribution of solar radiation.

Bolivia Climate Change Poverty and Adaptation, published by Oxfam International in Bolivia.

This report is based on the findings of a group of Oxfam researchers in Bolivia who investigated how poor families are experiencing and adapting to climate change, as well as interviewing key government and international officials, social movements, and NGOs. The main findings of the report include the fact that poor families are ill-equipped to deal with the future consequences of climate change, that women are often the group who suffer the most negative impacts, and that Bolivia can expect reduced food security and water availability, more frequent and intense natural disasters, an increase in mosquito-borne diseases, and more forest fires.

Blogs Bolivia Climate Change Monthly

Rural Bolivian Seed DiversitySeed Freedom.

Maintaining a diversity of seeds and crops is a key tactic in managing the risks of climate change. Following a Democracy Center research trip to Norte Potosí, Bolivia, the short documentary Seeds of Resilience tells the first in a series of stories about Bolivian climate resilience strategies.

Seminario ¨Universidades hacen frente al cambio climático¨ en La PazCambio Climático Bolivia, October 14.

An overview of  the seminar ¨Universities confront climate change¨ that took place in La Paz, Bolivia, on September 12, 2013. Universities play a key role in fighting climate change as they contribute vital scientific knowledge, motivating this seminar. The talks covered a wide range of themes, including the impact of climate change on biodiversity, the social and institutional dimensions of climate change research, and greenhouse gas emissions and energy plans in Bolivia. Full details of the seminar can be found here.

¨Edición especial: Experta del mes¨ Municipios y adaptación al cambio climático, Cambio Climático Bolivia, October 15.

An article about the importance of municipal action, in additional to national and international action, when confronting climate change and its consequences. The article includes a series of concrete proposals for how municipal authorities can incorporate the necessary policies and argues that climate change mitigation in order to avoid an increase in poverty, food insecurity, and forced migration, amongst other disastrous effects.

* This bulletin is intended for scientists, practitioners and others who are interested in climate change issues in Bolivia. Every care is taken to include all the relevant works published in the previous month, however, should you be aware of any research that has been accidentally overlooked, please email a link to


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