Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Cape Horn shows signs of climate change: Cape Horn International Center (CHIC)


 At Cape Horn, Chile, scientists study signs of climate change.
There is a place at the end of the world, in the southernmost tip of Chile, where pristine forests hide tiny systems in their depths that already give early warning of the global climate change that the planet is suffering.

Beyond the place where the American continent ends, on Navarino Island, crossing the Beagle Channel, Puerto Williams stands as the southernmost city in the world, a place far from pollution and human mistreatment, with unique conditions for the study of climate change.

The place "has no replica," Ricardo Rozzi, 61, a biologist and director of the Cape Horn International Center in Puerto Williams, tells AFP, a "particularly sensitive point for climate change" with average temperatures that do not exceed 5 Celsius degrees.

Aside from researching the under-studied subantarctic region, Rozzi said the center will observe plant and animal life, glacier retreat and give recommendations to the state for preservation and sustainable tourism.

Preserving the region is essential, scientists say, because its pristine ecosystems give it a unique vantage point to measure global alterations that result from human action or presence.

“We can study the effects of global changes here, because there aren’t any big changes yet,” said Andres Mansilla, a professor at Magallanes University and researcher at CHIC.

“So it’s a great opportunity for us to use pristine ecosystems that haven’t been interfered with, to see how climate change is affecting them.”

The CHIC is 90% complete and will be inaugurated in November. The research center spans 2,582 square meters, cost about $16 million and will host a visitor and education center in addition to its research facilities.

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