INSTITUTO ARGENTINO DE NIVOLOGIA, GLACIOLOGIA Y CIENCIAS AMBIENTALES
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
congresos y reuniones científicas
Hydro-climatic variability and socio-territorial processes in the western sector of La Rioja and Catamarca since the 18th century
ROJAS, FACUNDO; MARIA DEL ROSARIO PRIETO; RICARDO VILLALBA
Workshop; Documenting, understanding and projecting changes in the hydrological cycle in the American Cordillera IAI CRN 2047B; 2013
Inter American Institute for Global Change Research
In the western sectors of La Rioja and Catamarca, there is a significant lack of hydroclimatic information. Instrumental data are short (a few decades), not homogeneous and fragmentary. However, there is an increase in socio-economic activities with a high demand of water (wine and olive production for export, mining and tourism) in a context of water scarcity, probably exacerbated by climate change. The objectives of this study are to (1) provide basic hydro-climatic information from historical series on climate and river flows and (2) evaluate the social and economic vulnerability over the past three centuries. The study area is located in western sectors of La Rioja and Catamarca provinces, Argentina, between 20° and 30° S. This arid zonepresents a marked water deficit. Rainfalls range from 100 to 350 mm per year with a high annualevaporation between 1000 and 2000 mm. Mean annual temperature decreases with elevation from 20° to 5° C. The major water sources in the region are small rivers or streams fed by the melting of snow/glacier in the main Andes Mountains. Changes in water supply in relation to climate variability will be assessed at the localities of Villa Unión, Chilecito-Antinaco-Los Colorados, Pipanaco and Fiambalá-Tinogasta-Aimogasta-Mazán. Based on historical documents from the late 18 th century, we postulate a gradual reduction in snow and river flows since the mid-20 th century in western La Rioja and Catamarca. In the context of future climate change simulations for the 21 st century, which indicate a decrease in a snow precipitation in the Cordillera, we assume an increase of social vulnerability; however, social vulnerability in the region is also related to strong socio-economic inequalities.