The Andes Mountains of South America are the most species-rich biodiversity hotspot for plant and vertebrate species in the world. But the forest that climbs up this mountain range provides another important service to humanity. Andean forests are helping to protect the planet by acting as a carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide and keeping some of this climate-altering gas out of circulation, according to new research published in Nature Communications.
Human-caused warming is responsible for increasing the risk of a glacial outburst flood from Peru’s Lake Palcacocha, threatening the city below. This study is the first to directly link climate change with the risk of flooding from glacial lakes, which are growing in number and size worldwide.