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  • Station or cluster: CryoNet Station
  • Type: Reference
  • Attribute(s): Cal/val, Research
  • WMO ID (if any): 23
  • Shape: polygon
  • Latitude, longitude: -16.25, -68.167
  • Altitude and/or range (m): 4900-6100
  • Landscape: Glacier
  • Year established: September 1991
  • Year-round? Yes
  • Operations contact: Alvaro Wladimir SORUCO SOLOGUREN
  • Science contact: Antoine RABATEL
  • Data contact: Antoine RABATEL
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Zongo Glacier
Reference CryoNet Station Information

The Zongo Glacier is a temperate glacier covering an area of 1.876 km2 (in 2013) over a catchment area of 3.3 km2. Its length is around 3 km and its width is around 0.75 km, flowing from 6100 to 4900 m a.s.l., the average ice flow velocity is 15 m/year between 5200 to 4900 m a.s.l. Zongo Glacier is located in the Huayna Potosi region (Cordillera Real, Bolivia) 30 km north of La Paz city, between the dry Altiplano plateau in the west and the wet Amazonian basin in the east, under outer tropics meteorological conditions (strong seasonality in precipitation, low seasonality in temperature).

Other Networks to Which This CryoNet Station Belongs

Measurement Methods Used

Data Information


Francou, B., P. Ribstein, R. Saravia and E. Tiriau. 1995. Monthly balance and water discharge of an inter-tropical glacier: Zongo Glacier, Cordillera Real, Bolivia, 16°S. J. Glaciol., 41, 61-67.
Rabatel, A., A. Bermejo, E. Loarte, A. Soruco, J. Gomez, G. Leonardini, C. Vincent and J.-E. Sicart. 2012a. Can the snowline be used as an indicator of the equilibrium line and mass balance for glaciers in the outer tropics? J. Glaciol., 58, 1027-1036. doi: 10.3189/2012JoG12J027
Rabatel, A., B. Francou, A. Soruco, J. Gomez, B. Caceres, J.L. Ceballos, R. Basantes, M. Vuille, J.-E. Sicart, C. Huggel, M. Scheel, Y. Lejeune, Y. Arnaud, M. Collet, T. Condom, G. Consoli, V. Favier, V. Jomelli, R. Galarraga, P. Ginot, L. Maisincho, M. Ménégoz, J. Mendoza, E. Ramirez, P. Ribstein, W. Suarez, M. Villacis and P. Wagnon. 2013a. Current state of glaciers in the tropical Andes: a multi-century perspective on glacier evolution and climate change. Cryosphere, 7, 81-102. doi: 10.5194/tc-7-81-2013
Sicart, J.-E., P. Ribstein, J.-P. Chazarin and E. Berthier. 2002. Solid precipitation on a tropical glacier in Bolivia using ultrasonic depth gauge measurements. Water Res. Res., 38, 7.1-7.7.
Sicart, J.-E., P. Wagnon and P. Ribstein. 2005. Atmospheric controls of heat balance of Zongo Glacier (16°S, Bolivia). J. Geophys. Res., 110, D12106. doi: 10.1029/2004JD005732
Sicart, J.-E., P. Ribstein, B. Francou, B. Pouyaud and T. Condom. 2007. Glacier mass balance of tropical Zongo glacier, Bolivia, comparing hydrological and glaciological methods. Glob. Planet. Chang., 59, 27-36. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.11.024
Soruco, A., C. Vincent, B. Francou, P. Ribstein, T. Berger, J.-E. Sicart, P. Wagnon, Y. Arnaud, V. Favier and Y. Lejeune. 2009a. Mass balance of Glaciar Zongo, Bolivia, between 1956 and 2006, using glaciological, hydrological and geodetic methods. Ann. Glaciol., 50, 1-8.
Wagnon, P., P. Ribstein, B. Francou and B. Pouyaud. 1999. Annual cycle of energy balance of Zongo Glacier, Cordillera Real, Bolivia. J. Geophys. Res., 104, 3907-3923.
Wagnon, P., P. Ribstein, B. Francou and J.-E. Sicart. 2001. Anomalous heat and mass balance budget of Glaciar Zongo, Bolivia, during the 1997/98, El Nino year. J. Glaciol., 47, 21-28.


The measurements made at Zongo Glacier are listed in the following tables. (Note: If End Year is blank, measurements are ongoing.)

Cryosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year Frequency
GlacierAnnual mass balance1991Continuous
GlacierGlacial discharge1974Continuous
GlacierSurface topography1956Fragmented
GlacierFacies, snowline1991Continuous
GlacierSurface temperature1997Fragmented
GlacierSurface albedo1997Fragmented

Atmosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year Frequency
MetAir temperature2003Continuous
MetHumidity/vapour pressure2003Continuous
MetWind speed and direction2003Continuous
MetAir pressure2012Continuous
MetTotal precipitation2003Continuous
RadiationDownwelling shortwave2003Continuous
RadiationUpwelling shortwave2003Continuous
RadiationDownwelling longwave2003Continuous
RadiationUpwelling longwave2003Continuous

Measurement Notes and Other Measurements

Category Description or List
HydrologyContinuous runoff measurements of the proglacial stream
EcologyPatterns of plant-plant interactions are measured on the proglacial margin of Zongo Glacier into four deglaciation bands encompassing the recent acceleration of global warming since the 1970s: 0-7 years, 7-16 years, 16-30 years, and 30-38 years. In each band about 20 plots of 1m² were delimited. For each plot the interactions among individuals plants of different species is studied.

Water of the proglacial stream is sampled regularly to measure the macro-invertebrates population and its evolution.

OtherAtmosphere and aerosols

The Chacaltaya GAW Station (CHC) is located close to Zongo glacier and measures since 2011 atmospheric parameters and composition (gas concentrations, particles size distribution, optical properties, chemical composition and meteorological parameters).


Last updated: 16 October 2020