Support for Ricardo Villalba

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Support for Ricardo Villalba

Etienne Berthier

Dear cryolisters,

“Scientists cannot be sent to jail for their findings

We would like to inform you about the unacceptable situation of our colleague Ricardo Villalba (IANIGLA, Argentina). Many of you probably know Ricardo for his scientific achievements ( Now, Ricardo is accused of having favoured mining activities in his position of director of the National Glacier Inventory in Argentina. Briefly, he is accused of having mapped only glaciers larger than 1 ha (0.01 km²) leaving smaller ice bodies uncharted and, doing so, favouring mining activities. The coming week will be decisive.

As a community how can we help? Last August, several members of GLIMS (Global Land Ice Measurements from Space) and the WGMS (World Glacier Monitoring Service) wrote two letters to inform the Argentinian justice that their national glacier inventory was being performed following state-of-the-art international standards. As you may know, every glacier inventory has to defined a minimum area mapping threshold and the one used by our Argentinian colleagues of IANIGLA (0.01 km²) is among the smallest used so far, illustrating how detailed and comprehensive their inventory work is.

These letters did not convince the judge. We believe we should now support much more loudly our colleague. Several years ago, the seismological community stood up furiously to support their scientific colleagues following the Aquila's earthquake. Several months ago, we marched for Science. It is now time for the wide cryo-community to express loudly its support to one colleague, accused of doing his scientific work as best as possible.

If, like us, you trust the scientific work produced by our Argentinian colleague and want to support him, we ask you to:

(i) the sign the support letter (in which you will find much more details about the case)
Note that you can provide your email in the mandatory field “Passport / ID” if you prefer.

(ii) contact journalists and public media to raise attention of a wide-public around this unbelievable and unacceptable story. Cryo-blog (from EGU, Glacier Hub, AGU, etc…) may also want to report on this.

(iii) Socities, Union and other organizations such IGS, AGU, EGU, IACS etc... may issue some official statements to express their support.

(iv) forward the message beyond the cryolist. All scientists should be fighting vigorously to help Ricardo. So spread the word in your institute.

Thanks for your active support and rapid actions,

Etienne Berthier, member of the GLIMS core team, reviewer of the National Glacier Inventory of Argentina
Bruce H. Raup, Director of Global Land Ice Measurement from Space (GLIMS)
Michael Zemp, Director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS)
Jeffrey S. Kargel, former Director of GLIMS and current member of the GLIMS core team
Samuel Nussbaumer, WGMS
Adina Racoviteanu, Tobias Bolch, Frank Paul, members of the GLIMS core team

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