Snow Cover Area Change in the Volcano "El Altar" in Ecuador using Landsat Images
Mendoza, Martha Isabel
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In Ecuador, the loss in snow cover area, can severely affect agricultural lands, protected areas and people’s access to clean water. I investigated the changes in snow cover in the Altar volcano in Ecuador in the last thirty-nine years (1979-2018) and used regression modeling to explore how monthly average precipitation and temperature influences the snow cover fluctuation. Snow coverage was measured using three separate approaches. I found that snow cover declined in both wet and dry seasons; dry season values decreased from 15% to roughly 7%. Models explained roughly 20% of the variation in snow cover suggesting that complications from ENSO events may have large impacts on El Altar. The results of this project underscore the need to design and implement policy that will allow the communities downstream to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of climate change.