The Central Andean Region is particularly vulnerable to hydro-meteorological hazards (Barnett et al., 2005; UNDP, 2015). In recent years, the severest drought since the 1850 has affected the Central Andean region of Central Chile, Argentina and Southern Peru while a devastating flood and landslides occurred in the Copiapo region of Chile in 2015.
Rising temperature trends have been observed especially at high elevations since the late 1980s (Vuille et al., 2015). The strong recession of glaciers during the recent three decades has doubled during the last decade, illustrating an accelerating trend (Price and Egan, 2014; Casassa et al., 2007).
Several studies have shown that snow and glaciers play a key role in the hydrology of the Central Andes (e.g. Ohlanders, 2013). The local hydrological cycle in the snow-melt and glacier driven catchments is expected to change strongly with a shift towards an earlier snow melt season and less overall water availability for downstream ecosystems and communities (Bates et al., 2008; Souvignet et al., 2010). Climate change impacts are hence a major concern to a large part of the population living in arid regions in the extratropical Andes where the water supply from the glaciered Andean mountains is essential for agricultural and domestic production (Vergara et al., 2007). The Central Andean region is furthermore highly vulnerable to hydro-meteorological hazards as these impacts cause biodiversity losses due to the inability of the ecosystems to adapt to frequent climatic variabilities (Torres et al., 2014). The Pre-Cordillera of the Andes in Santiago for instance represents the Mediterranean mountainous ecosystem declared as one of the 25 hotspots for priority conservation (Myers et al., 2000).
Study sites have to be considered especially in Camaná Majes (Peru), in Choapa, Maule, Imperial (Chile) and Rio Jachal, Rio Mendoza, Tunuyan (Argentina). The following figure shows the study sites of the Andean EbA project graphically.