Agatha & Atitlán

Report from Jess Corman from Guatemala:

Images of devastation, mortality, and destroyed towns and villages are common following hurricanes and tropical storms.  In this respect, Tropical Storm Agatha, which hit Central America at the end of May, tragically did not disappoint.  Due to the massive floods and landslides, Agatha has ranked as one of the most deadly Pacific hurricanes.  But there is another, subtler, side to this story.  That is of Lake Atitlán.  Atitlán, located high in the mountains, received massive amounts of sediments and trash following the rains and water that swept through its watershed.  You can see this clearly in the video below.  Even before Agatha, the ecology of the lake had been compromised.  What does this tropical storm mean for Atitlán and those whose livelihood depends directly on its health?  Will these tropical storm derived inputs have long term consequences for this ecosystem?  It is not clear yet, but a subset of the April Atitlán Expedition Team (myself included) will be returning to the Lake next week to assist the monitoring effort.  I hope our presence will help.    Images of Lake Atitlán on 9 – 10 June 2010, following Tropical Storm Agatha.  Video by Hugo Villavicencio.


One response to “Agatha & Atitlán

  1. Hi Jeff, you guys are doing valuable work for our lake atitlan. I heard part of the team came back but was not able to get any information about your last visit yet. If you have any references as to anything online that has been published about the trip? You must have heard that the algae bloom has started in July (again), early, just after Agatha. Would not surprise me if the tropical storm contributed to it, but on such a short term? The fact that it pops ups the very season after the first bloom is not very hopeful. Wish you all the luck and hope to meet you when you come to visit the lake in the future. – Marco

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