Hills eroded by floods of glacial meltwater in Swedish Lapland resemble streamlined erosional features on Mars. The morphology and materials indicate a similar origin for the features on both planets. The Baldakatj area can be considered a terrestrial analog for Martian landforms; this similarity suggests that other features in Lapland, including boulder deltas, may also occur on Mars.
Nearest-neighbor analysis can be applied to polygonal ground patterns to give a quantitative evaluation of the pattern. The nearest-neighbor statistic (R) indicates the degree to which an observation departs from an expected random pattern. The R-statistic is particularly useful in comparing patterns by highlighting differences that are not subjectively obvious. Because the nearest-neighbor technique eliminates the effect of scale, it can be used to compare a variety of patterns, including ice-wedge and desiccation polygons, lava cooling cracks, and tectonic fractures. Nearest-neighbor analysis can also be applied to the large-scale polygonal ground on Mars and other planetary bodies.
This study presents the first absoluteage constraints from a palaeo-ice-sheet margin in western Scotland. Cosmogenic 10Be from four Lewisian gneiss boulders on the Gairloch Moraine in NW Scotland have yielded reliable exposure ages. Three of these dates, taken from a single moraine ridge, cluster around c. 15.5–18 ka BP, with a weighted mean of 16.3 ± 1.6 ka BP. These findings indicate that the last British Ice Sheet had retreated to the present-day coastline in NW Scotland by this time. It is suggested that the Wester Ross Readvance represents an ice-sheet oscillation during, or in the immediate aftermath of, Heinrich Event 1 (c. 17–18 ka BP).
Earlier work in northeast Greenland has suggested a limited advance of the Greenland Ice Sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). However, this concept has recently been challenged by marine geological studies, indicating grounded ice on the continental shelf at this time. New 10Be-ages from the Store Koldewey island, northeast Greenland, suggest that unscoured mountain plateaus at the outer coast were covered at least partly by cold-based ice during the LGM. It is, however, still inconclusive whether this ice was dynamically connected to the Greenland Ice Sheet or not.
Regardless of the LGM ice sheet extent, the 10Be results from Store Koldewey add to a growing body of evidence suggesting considerable antiquity of crystalline unscoured terrain near present and Pleistocene ice sheet margins.
The overall pattern of deglaciation of the southern part of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet has been considered established, although details of the chronology and ice sheet dynamics are less well known. Even less is known for the south Swedish Upland because the area was deglaciated mostly by stagnation. Within this area lies the conspicuous Vimmerby moraine, for which we have used the terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (10Be) exposure dating technique to derive the exposure age of six glacially transported boulders. The six 10Be cosmogenic ages are internally consistent, ranging from 14.9 ± 1.5 to 12.4 ± 1.3 ka with a mean of 13.6 ±0.9 ka. Adjusting for the effects of surface erosion, snow burial and glacio-isostatic rebound causes the mean age to increase only by c. 6% to c. 14.4± 0.9 ka. The 10Be derived age for the Vimmerby moraine is in agreement with previous estimates forthe timing of deglaciation based on radiocarbon dating and varve chronology. This result shows promise for further terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide exposure studies in southern Sweden.
We apply two different time series analytical tools to ω18O records from two Svalbard ice cores. One ice core is from Lomonosovfonna at 1250 ma.s.l. and the other from Austfonna at 750 m a.s.l. These cores are estimated to cover at least the past 800 years and have been dated using a combination of known reference horizons and glacial modelling. Wavelet analysis reveals low frequency oscillations on the 60–120–year scale on the lower elevation site Austfonna while the higher altitude site on Lomonosovfonna does not reveal such variability throughout the record. The second method, Significant Zero Crossing of Derivates (SiZer) does not resolve the low-frequency periodicity seen in the wavelet analysis. The low-frequency variability resolved by the wavelet analysis is similar to what has been found in various climate records including instrumental temperatures and tree-rings, and has been proposed as the most important oscillation for the observed trends in Arctic air temperatures.
Based on data from instrumental measurements, map comparison, sedimentological methods, historical literature analysis and 14C dating techniques, a data-base has been built to study the changing sedimentation rate of the lower Yellow River over the past 13,000 years. A striking increase of sedimentation rate with time has been revealed which reflects the effects of both global climatic change and human activities. The points in the plots can be fitted by several straight-line segments with different slopes, representing geological sedimentation, naturally accelerated sedimentation and anthropogenically accelerated sedimentation.
The reliability of lichenometric dating is dependent on a good understanding of lichen growth rates. The growth rate of lichens can be determined from direct measurement of growing lichens or indirect methods by measuring lichens growing on surfaces of known age, although there are limitations to both approaches. Radiocarbon (14C) analysis has previously been used in only a handful of studies to determine lichen growth rates of two species from a small area of North America. These studies have produced mixed results; a small amount of carbon turnover appears to occur in one of the species (Caloplaca spp.) previously investigated introducing uncertainty in the growth rate, while much higher carbon cycling occurred in another (Rhizocarpon geographicum), making the 14C approach unsuitable for estimating growth rates in the species most commonly used in lichenometric dating. We investigated the use of bomb-14C analysis to determine the growth rate of a different crustose species (Pertusaria pseudocorallina) common to Northern Europe. 14C-based growth rates were considerably higher than growth rates of morphologically similar species based on direct measurement made at locations nearby and elsewhere in the UK. This observation strongly suggests that a degree of carbon turnover probably occurs in Pertusaria pseudocorallina, and that bomb-14C analysis alone cannot be used to determine lichen age or absolute growth rates in this lichen species.
By stepwise regression analysis the accumulation, ablation, and equilibrium line altitude (ELA) were modelled by circulation indices and spring-summer temperature on six Norwegian glaciers (Ålfotbreen, Nigardsbreen, Rembesdalsskåka, Storbreen, Hellstugubreen and Gråsubreen). The circulation indices were derived from a gridded monthly mean sea level pressure (MSLP) data set, whereas temperature series were derived from instrumental and proxy data.Analyses showed that accumulation on the western glaciers was strongly related to western airflow perpendicular to the main mountain range releasing precipitation on the glaciers. No other airflow variable significantly improved the regression. For the continental glaciers, circulating air in connection with low pressure systems was also found to be important. This may explain the lack of synchronicity in the glaciers' development in southern Norway during the Holocene. Accumulation was better modelled using the MSLP data set than by using the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index as predictor.The decadal variations of accumulation, ablation, and ELA were analysed by a Gaussian low pass filter. The well-known abundant accumulation on Norwegian glaciers during the early 1990s turned out to be unprecedented during the entire series (since 1781), whereas the accumulation of the 1960s has not been lower since the early 19th century according to model results. Ablation increased significantly from the mid-19th century to the 1930s. The ablation maximum during the 1930s has not yet been exceeded. Also the 1930s show extremely high ELA values.
Documentary data provide long time series and sometimes high-resolution, detailed data from historical times to the present and can give valuable information about palaeoclimate, and for the prediction of future climates. In this paper, documentary data containing qualitative information on climate, in the form of a diary written by the farmer I.G. Grude, and two newspapers, were used for the reconstruction of the palaeoclimate at Jæren, in the county of Rogaland, in southwestern Norway, during the period 1821–50. An index method to quantify the qualitative climate data was developed and used for a low-resolution reconstruction of winter, summer and annual temperatures. A high-resolution climate reconstruction of temperature and precipitation for the winter of 1837/38 is also presented, making use of a method that keeps the climate data in a qualitative form. The climate reconstructions are compared to an instrumental temperature series from Bergen, for the same period. The two data sets are in good agreement except for summer temperature (annual temperature: r = 0.75, winter temperature: r = 0.77, summer temperature: r = 0.44). Compared to average temperatures during 1961–90, the instrumental data from Bergen during the 1821–50 period show slightly different temperatures: annual average was 0.3°C lower, winter 0.4°C lower, and summer 0.1°C lower than at present, implying conditions consistent with the "Little Ice Age" climate.
This work analyses a storm that occurred in the Canary Islands early in November 1826. Through a study based on historical climate data, some of the adverse effects of the storm are described and some of the possible causes are discussed. The main goal of this work is to establish an approximate reconstruction of this historical event which will allow us to compare it to a recent meteorological event that had a great impact on the archipelago: “Tropical Storm Delta”, in November 2005. Studying and reviewing the origin of the 1826 storm verifies the hypothesis that extremely violent perturbations have not only occurred in the Canaries on other occasions, but that these past events were also more intense and had more serious consequences than Delta. Therefore, the idea that other tropical perturbations have occurred in the region of the Canary Islands before Delta is presented.
This study investigates the sediment fluxes through the Yellow River sediment routing system, which are among the largest in the world, by constructing a sediment budget of the system over the period from 1855 to 1968. The framework of the sediment budget includes four functional units with the upper and middle reaches of the river as the sediment source and its lower reaches, its delta, and the deep sea as the sediment sinks. Sediment yield from the source and amounts of deposition in the lower Yellow River and the modern Yellow River delta were estimated for completing the sediment budget. The sediment budget produced for the period from 1855 to 1968 was characterized by a sediment input of 1.837 × 1011 tonnes and a distribution of the sediment between the lower Yellow River, the delta, and the deep sea of 64%, 33%, and 3%, respectively. The details of the sediment budget show that the importance of sedimentation in the lower Yellow River changed greatly with variations in the condition of the dykes and other human activities. A comparison of the sediment budgets of the delta for different timescales shows that the proportion of sediment dispersed to the deep sea decreases as the timescale over which the sediment fluxes are investigated increases.
Wind direction conditions during the 20th century in Scania, southern Sweden, are investigated using an estimated series of monthly wind vector components (east–west u component and north–south v component). The series is developed from a regression relationship between pairwise (1973 to 1997) monthly averages of 10–m surface wind from Scania and a monthly geostrophic wind, based on mean sea level (MSL) pressure data from the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The wind conditions during the 20th century are dominated by winds from southwesterly and westerly directions, particularly during summer and autumn. From the 1980s onwards, increased frequencies of westerly winds are evident in spring and summer; however, similarly large frequencies of westerly winds are also found during the early part of the 20th century. Analysis of the estimated wind series indicates large variation in wind direction during the investigated time period, particularly during 1930 to 1960 when large increases of easterly winds are evident in spring. Increased frequencies of easterly winds were also found in other months during this period but not to the same extent as during the spring season. Thus, the presence of periods with quite different wind characteristics suggests that the overall atmospheric circulation has experienced some shifts in this region during the 20th century.
During the last 20 years the concept of anthropogenic climate change has left academic circles and become a major public concern. Some people consider ‘global warming’ as the major environmental threat to the planet. Even though mostly considered a novel threat, a look into history tells us that claims of humans deliberately or unintentionally changing climate is a frequent phenomenon in Western culture. Climate change, due to natural and anthropogenic causes, has often been discussed since classical times. Environmental change including climate change was seen by some as a biblical mandate, to ‘complete the Creation’. In line with this view, the prospect of climate change was considered as a promising challenge in more modern times. Only since the middle of the 20th century, has anthropogenic climate change become a menacing prospect. The concept of anthropogenic climate change seems to be deeply embedded in popular thinking, at least in Europe, which resurfaces every now and then after scientific discoveries. Also, extreme weather phenomena have in the past often been explained by adverse human interference.
A list of claims of anthropogenic climate modifications is presented; the remarkable similarity of the anthropogenic climate change debate in the second half of the 19th century is compared to the present situation. Of course, the present threat seems much more real than any of the historical predecessors, which turned out to be overestimated.
In 1998 an area near Helagsfjllet in Hrjedalen was investigated in an attempt to relocate palsas discovered by the botanist Harry Smith in 1910. Several small palsa-like features with ice cores were detected. The palsas were found on an almost flat peat bog at 950 m, 3 km NW of Helagsfjllet. Five clearly elevated mounds and some indistinct ones with palsa-like features were traced. The five mounds were about 0.6 m high and had an area of about 2 × 3 m. One of the mounds was examined in more detail. At a depth of 0.3 m in the peat an ice body with a hard ice core was found. This location is the most southerly area known with occurrence of palsa-like forms in Sweden at the present time. In spite of a warmer climate towards the latter part of this century, palsa-like features have survived in this area. The mean annual temperature barely fits the criterion for palsa formation while the mean annual precipitation is too high as compared with the general assumptions. The palsa formation is probably dependent on strong winds thinning out the snowcover.
Storbreen glacier is situated in the western part of Jotunheimen, a mountain area in central southern Norway. Annual mass balance data have been recorded since 1949. In addition, detailed topographical maps at the scale 1:10,000 exist from the years 1940, 1951, 1968, 1984 and 1997. In this paper, volume change calculated from maps is compared with annual mass balance data. The volume change was in reasonable agreement with the measured cumulative mass balance for the periods 1940–1951 and 1968–1984; however, for the periods 1951–1968 and 1984–1997, the mass balance measurements showed larger negative values than obtained from map comparisons. One obvious reason for this is the inaccuracy of the contour lines in the upper areas of the glacier on maps from 1940 and 1951. Other factors influencing the result are tested, and also suggestions are given for improving the techniques for mapping glacier volume changes.
Annual balance measurements on the Lemon Creek Glacier, Alaska conducted by the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) from 1953 through 1998 provide a continuous 46 year record. This is one of the nine American glaciers selected in a global monitoring network during the International Geophysical year, 1957/58. These data have been acquired primarily by employing consistent ground methods, conducted on similar annual dates and calculated using comparable methodology. The results have been until now fairly precise, but of uncertain accuracy. An adjunct comparison of topographic surface maps of the glacier made in 1957 and 32 years later in 1989 provides a rough determination of glacier surface elevation changes which are clearly of less precision than the compilation of annual ground data. Airborne surface profiling in 1995, and global positioning system leveling transects in 1996–1998 update the record of surface elevation changes over the past decade. The mean glacier ice thickness reductions suggested by these methods from 1957–1989, from 1957–1995 and from 1957–1998 are −13.2 m, −16.4 m, and −21.7 m, respectively. It is of interest that the geodetic interpretations agree fairly well with the trend of sequential balances from ground-level stratigraphic measurements. To date, however, the infrequent mapping methods in this study have yielded specific balances averaging between 5 and 11% less than those resulting from our annual on-site glaciological monitoring. For future studies this can be an important factor. The ground data are, therefore, the ones in which we have most confidence. These show cumulative ice losses of −13.9 m (12.7 m water equivalent w.e.) from 1957–1989, of −19.0 m (−17.1 m w.e.) from 1957–1995, of −24.4 m (22 m w.e.) from 1957–1998, and −24.7 m (22.2 m w.e.) for the total cumulative loss over the full 46 years between 1953 and 1998. Although the balance trend has been increasingly negative it averages −0.48 m/a in w.e. or 0.52 m of ice loss per year.
To refine the reliability of density determinations in this data set the effects of internal accumulation from refrozen meltwater producing diagenetic ice structures in the annual firnpack have been taken into account. An unusual dearth of such structures within the 1997/98 firnpack provided a unique opportunity to facilitate application of the probing technique over broad areas of the nv. This added to our ground truth and verified accuracy of the test-pit measurements used in these long-term mass balance computations.
The glacier's continuing negative mass balance has fueled a terminal retreat of 800 m during the 1953–1998 period. The annual balance trend indicates that despite a higher mean elevation and a higher elevation terminus from thinning and retreat, mean annual balance has been strongly negative since 1977 (−0.78 m/a w.e.). Dramatically increased negative mass balances have occurred in the 1990s, with 1996 and 1997 being the only years on record with no retained accumulation since field observations were initiated in the glacier source areas in 1948.
Mass changes of Blue Glacier, USA are calculated from topographic maps made from vertical aerial photography in late summer of 1939, 1952, 1957, and 1987, along with laser altimetry flown in June 1996. Changes in elevation between maps were adjusted for seasonal variations in the snow cover, and to account for the ablation between the date of photography and 1 October. Topography obtained from the laser altimetry was adjusted for snow thickness and glacier motion to estimate topography of 1 October 1995. The mass of Blue Glacier has changed less than 7 m (water equivalent) during this 56 year period which is minor compared with other glaciers in the region and elsewhere in the world. Glacier-average annual mass balances, beginning in 1956, have been calculated either from stake measurements and probing of late-season snow, or from a regression analysis using late-season measurements of the equilibrium line altitude. A comparison with the changes derived from surface maps shows values obtained from field measurements are too positive by about 0.4 m a⁻¹ , indicating that considerable caution is needed when interpreting time series of mass balance. Two alternative time series of mass balance consistent with the long-term mass changes are created by making simple adjustments: (1) a single constant is subtracted from each value so that the series is consistent with the 1957–95 mass change; (2) one constant is subtracted from each value over 1957–87 and another is subtracted from each value over 1987-95 so that the series is consistent with both the 1957–87 and 1987–95 mass changes.
Baby Glacier, Axel Heiberg Island, N.W.T., Canada is a small (0.6 km2), high-latitude (79°N), high-altitude (700–1200 m) glacier with a mass balance record extending from 1959–60 to the present. The record demonstrates shrinkage of the glacier, but a statistically significant trend is not evident. Correlations are strong between the mass balance of Baby Glacier and that of the nearby and much larger White Glacier, and also those of even larger, more distant glaciers. Thus programmes of measurement on small, simple ice bodies such as Baby Glacier can be representative of a large region. However, inter-annual changes are more accentuated for Baby Glacier. Baby Glacier does not meet all of the usual criteria for a representative glacier, but it straddles the regional equilibrium zone, a fact which helps to offset the disadvantages of its small size and limited altitudinal range. The equilibrium zone deserves to be an important focus for studies of high-arctic mass balance, with the aim of facilitating future measurement programmes which will rely on satellite remote sensing.
Abstract Small, stagnating ice caps at high latitudes are particularly sensitive to climatic fluctuations, especially with regard to changes in ablation season temperature. We conducted mass balance measurements and GPS area surveys on four small High Arctic plateau ice caps from 1999–2002. We compared these measurements with topographic maps and aerial photography from 1959, and with previously published data. Net mass balance (bn) of Murray Ice Cap was −0.49 (1999), −0.29 (2000), −0.47 (2001), and −0.29 (2002), all in meters of water equivalent (m w.eq.). The mass balance of nearby Simmons Ice Cap was also negative in 2000 (bn=−0.40 m w.eq.) and in 2001 (bn=−0.52 m w.eq.). All four ice caps experienced substantial marginal recession and area reductions of between 30 and 47% since 1959. Overall, these icecaps lost considerable mass since at least 1959, except for a period between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s characterized regionally by reduced summer melt, positive mass balance, and ice cap advance. The regional equilibrium line altitude (ELA) is located, on average, above the summits of the ice caps, indicating that they are remnants of past climatic conditions and out of equilibrium with present climate. The ice caps reached a Holocene maximum and were several times larger during the Little Ice Age (LIA) and their current recession reflects an adjustment to post-LIA climatic conditions. At current downwasting rates the ice masses on the Hazen Plateau will completely disappear by, or soon after, the mid-21st century.
When the Norwegian State Power Board decided to plan an extensive water power development in the mountainous areas southeast of Narvik in northern Norway, a large mapping project was started. Detailed maps were constructed at a scale of 1:10 000 from aerial photographs taken in 1960. Several hydrometric stations were installed, and three glaciers were selected for mass balance observations. Storsteinsfjellbreen was the largest of these, and a special glacier map with 10 m contours was printed in four colours, to be used in the field work. Mass balance studies were carried out initially during one 5-year period (1964–68), and also later during another 5-year period (1991–95).
Results from these periods are compared with similar data from the Swedish glacier Storglaciären, about 45 km to the southeast. For all the years except one (1968), the net balance of these glaciers shows a similar pattern: positive years and negative years are synchronous.
A new glacier map was made from a special aerial survey in 1993 at the same scale and of similar accuracy as the first map, so a comparison could be made to calculate the change in glacier volume from 1960 to 1993. From digital terrain models it could be shown that the glacier surface had dropped more than 60 m vertically on the tongue, while the thickness increased above the equilibrium line by up to 20 m. The overall mass loss amounted to 16.8×106 m3 water during 33 years, which corresponds to an extra 2.6 l·s−1·km−2 (litres per sec. per sq. km) delivered to the river, in addition to the “normal” discharge
due to annual precipitation, which is 36 l·s−1·km−2 in the area.
A copy of the new glacier map is enclosed with this article.
In the centre of the highly glacierized Oetztal valley, mass balance is determined for the three neighbouring glaciers Hintereisferner, Kesselwandferner and Vernagtferner, applying the direct glaciological method, related to the ‘fixed date’ system. The diverging behaviour of the three glaciers due to slightly varying local climatic conditions as well as to different topoclimatological and physiographic features gave reason to analyse the Vernagtferner mass balance separately for three easily discernible sections, i.e. Schwarzwand, Taschachjoch and Brochkogel, each showing characteristic aspect and elevational distributions of area respectively.The cumulative mass balance of the Vernagtferner for the period 1968/69, when separate mass balance computations for the three sections were started, until 1996/97 amounted to −8.7 m water equivalent (w.e.). The mass loss of the western Schwarzwand section as the part with the largest share of low elevation area was −13.3 m w.e., in contrast to the central Taschachjoch section which lost only −6.6 m w.e. The remaining eastern Brochkogel section with a loss of −8.5 m w.e. fits best the mass balance of the total Vernagtferner although its physiographic characteristics differ markedly from those of the entire glacier. The equilibrium line altitude (ELA) dependence on specific net mass balance (b) is slightly different for the three sections, whereas the dependence of the accumulation area–total area ratio (AAR) on b is characterized by nearly identical sensitivities. Moreover, AAR correlates better with b than ELA, therefore AAR is regarded as a more representative parameter for the Vernagtferner than ELA.
Long-term observations of partly debris-covered glaciers have allowed us to assess the impact of supra-glacial debris on volumetric changes. In this paper, the behaviour of the partially debris-covered, 3.6 km2 tongue of Pasterze Glacier (47°05′N, 12°44′E) was studied in the context of ongoing climate changes. The right part of the glacier tongue is covered by a continuous supra-glacial debris mantle with variable thicknesses (a few centimetres to about 1 m). For the period 1964–2000 three digital elevation models (1964, 1981, 2000) and related debris-cover distributions were analysed. These datasets were compared with long-term series of glaciological field data (displacement, elevation change, glacier terminus behaviour) from the 1960s to 2006. Differences between the debriscovered and the clean ice parts were emphasised. Results show that volumetric losses increased by 2.3 times between the periods 1964–1981 and 1981–2000 with significant regional variations at the glacier tongue. Such variations are controlled by the glacier emergence velocity pattern, existence and thickness of supra-glacial debris, direct solar radiation, counter-radiation from the valley sides and their changes over time. The downward-increasing debris thickness is counteracting to a compensational stage against the common decrease of ablation with elevation. A continuous debris cover not less than 15 cm in thickness reduces ablation rates by 30–35%. No relationship exists between glacier retreat rates and summer air temperatures. Substantial and varying differences of the two different terminus parts occurred. Our findings clearly underline the importance of supra-glacial debris on mass balance and glacier tongue morphology.
ABSTRACTA baseline climatology is required in evaluating climate variability and changes on regional and local scales. Gridded climate normals, i.e. averages over a 30-year period, are of special interest since they can be readily used for validation of climate models. This study is aimed at creating an updated gridded dataset for Swedish monthly temperature normals over the period 1971–2000, based on standard 2-m air temperature records at 510 stations in mainland Sweden. Spatial trends of the normal temperatures were modelled as functions of latitude, longitude and elevation by multiple linear regression. The study shows that the temperature normals are strongly correlated with latitude throughout the year and especially in cold months, while elevation was a more important factor in June and July. Longitude played a minor role and was only significant in April and May. Regression equations linking temperature to latitude, longitude and elevation were set up for each month. Monthly temperature normals were detrended by subtracting spatial trends given by the regressions. Ordinary kriging was then applied to both original data (simple method) and de-trended data (composite method) to model the spatial variability and to perform spatial gridding. The multiple regressions showed that between 82% (summer) and 96% (winter) of the variance in monthly temperature normals could be explained by latitude and elevation. Unexplained variances, i.e. the residuals, were modelled with ordinary kriging with exponential semivariograms. The composite grid estimates were calculated by adding the multiple linear trends back to the interpolated residuals at each grid point. Kriged original temperature normals provided a performance benchmark. The cross–validation shows that the interpolation errors of the normals are significantly reduced if the composite method rather than the simple one was used. A gridded monthly dataset with 30-arcsecond spacing was created using the established trends, the kriging model and a digital topographic dataset.
The Arctic regions are undergoing rapid warming, at rates that are significantly faster than the global average and its hydrological system is responding to this change. Rivers may be seen as integrators of changes in the hydrological cycle. Changes in the freshwater fluxes have immediate impact on Arctic Ocean dynamics, and are teleconnected to the global ocean-atmosphere.
Here, the most recent observational records are analyzed for 19 large rivers encompassing the entire Arctic region over the period 1977 to 2007. Trends in total annual water discharge, melt month and peak month discharge are calculated for individual systems based on records with monthly time resolution.
We found consistent increase in annual discharge over the entire region (+9.8%) over the last 30 years. Combined change in water outflux is significantly higher than previous reconstructions for the Canadian Arctic (+2% over 1964–2000) and Eurasia (+7% over 1936–1999). Individual river systems show strong acceleration of change.
Melt month discharge increases considerably (+66%), whereas peak month discharge is reduced (–6.8%). Our records mostly span the post-dam establishment period, when dam management is considered relatively stable. Consequently we attribute the considerable change in the melt month to a shift in snowmelt in the drainage basin.
Pohjola, V.A., Christoffersen, P., Kolondra, L., Moore, J.C., Pettersson, R.S., Schäfer, M., Strozzi, T. and Reijmer, C.H., 2011. Spatial distribution and change in the surface ice-velocity field of Vestfonna ice cap, Nordaustlandet, Svalbard, 1995–2010 using geodetic and satellite interferometry data. Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography. 93, 323–335. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0459.2011.00441.x
During 2007 we launched a geodetic campaign on the Svalbard ice cap Vestfonna in order to estimate the velocity field of the ice cap. This was done within the frame of the IPY project KINNVIKA. We present here the velocity measurements derived from our campaigns 2007–2010 and compare the geodetic measurements against InSAR velocity fields from satellite platforms from 1995/96 and 2008. We find the spatial distribution of ice speeds from the InSAR is in good agreement within the uncertainty limits with our geodetic measurements. We observe no clear indication of seasonal ice speed differences, but we find a speed-up of the outlet glacier Franklinbreen between the InSAR campaigns, and speculate the outlet is having a surge phase.
This study presents the decay of a small palsa complex between 1996 and 2000 in Sweden's southernmost major palsa bog. The outline of the palsa was mapped during three summers in 1996, 1999 and 2000 and an automatic weather station measured air temperature, precipitation, snow depth, wind speed and wind direction between 1997 and 2000. The decay of the palsa was enormous in the dome–shaped part of the palsa complex: the height decreased during the observation period from 2.3 m to 0.5 m. In 2000, the palsa dome had almost totally disappeared: only some peat blocks in a palsa pond were left. The decay of the palsa was complex with a number of degradational processes, of which the main processes were block erosion, thermokarst and wind erosion. Thermal melting has occurred along the edges of the palsa and possibly below the frozen core of the palsa since 1998/99. Wind erosion was observed during summer and the maximum estimated deflation was 80 cm. The decay of the palsa dome was especially large between 1999 and 2000, probably due to a high mean annual temperature, high summer precipitation and the warming influence of the large pond surrounding the palsa. The present climate in the palsa bog with a mean annual temperature of −0.8°C is not favourable for palsa development and maintenance, despite a strong wind regime which can provide suitable conditions for snowdrift.
The Cachí Reservoir on the Reventazón River, Costa Rica, is flushed on an almost yearly basis. A field investigation of the 1996 flushing was carried out in order to elucidate from where in the reservoir the material originates, where and to what extent the released sediments will deposit along the river from the dam to the sea, and finally how this can be explained. A reservoir survey was conducted by means of echo-sounding along certain cross-sections before and after the flushing. The material was found to both deposit in between flushings and to be eroded during flushing, mainly in the uppermost and lowermost parts of the old river channel. In the downstream reaches, the pulse of suspended sediment pertaining to the flushing was found to be clearly distinguishable by means of grain-size distribution, even in the lower parts. Surveys were conducted at eight sites along the river downstream from the dam both before and after the flushing such that the volumes of deposited or eroded material were found. By use of the dry bulk density, the results could be calculated in tonnes, thus facilitating comparison to the samplings of the hydrological stations along the river. A major factor in explaining the amounts and distribution of deposits was shown to be the phase lag between water discharge and suspended-sediment con-centration peaks. The influence of this phase lag on the deposition and erosion processes is illustrated by a schematic figure. A more detailed sediment budget is presented for the reach between the hydrological stations c. 10 and 30 km downstream from the dam. It was found that approximately 250 000 tonnes were deposited within the reach. Of these, 82% were channel-bed deposits while 18% were deposited on the river banks.
During the initial stages of the November 1996 jökulhlaup at Skeiðarárjökull, Iceland, floodwaters burst onto the glacier surface via a series of fractures. This supraglacial drainage led to the formation of a number of distinct ice surface depressions, one of which is investigated in detail. The morphology and structural characteristics of this feature are described, as well as the sedimentology of an associated assemblage of debris-filled fractures. This work suggests that debris-charged subglacial floodwaters travelled up to the glacier surface, where supraglacial flow occurred initially via an extensive network of fractures, orientated parallel to the glacier margin. Supraglacial discharge became progressively more focused into a series of discrete outlets, leading to the mechanical erosion of a number of depressions on the glacier surface. The associated transfer of subglacially derived floodwaters to high levels within the glacier resulted in the rapid entrainment of large volumes of sediment which may influence the patterns, processes and products of ice-marginal sedimentation in the future.
The flood at Mount Fulufjllet, 30-31 August 1997 was caused by the most furious rainstorm ever documented in Sweden. Private measurements on the mountain show not less than 276 mm over 24 hours, and the distribution of severe damage suggests even higher amounts in other parts of the mountain. The precipitation was connected to a front attacking a high pressure that had been dominating the weather in Sweden for several weeks, but orographic lifting on the east-facing slopes of the mountain may partly have caused the extreme intensity. In River Fulan, one of the upper branches of River Dallven, the discharge peaked at a diurnal mean value of 233 m 3/s;, the highest since measurements began in 1913. At the stream Tangån and the new common outlet of the streams Stora and Lilla Göljån, both locations with a normal discharge of only around 1 m 3/s, instantaneous values of approximately 300 m 3/s have been estimated, corresponding to values close to the normal discharge at the mouth of River Dallven on the coast of the Sea of Bothnia.
On 30-31 August 1997, extreme precipitation fell locally over parts of west central Sweden, causing flash floods on the eastern and southern slopes of Mount Fulufjället. Here we report from fieldwork carried out during the first year after the event. A survey map of the Stora Göljån flash flood channel is pre-sented. The geomorphic effects are described, as well as the general status of the recolonisation of vegetation. The erosional effects of the flash floods were extensive, and included the expansion of stream channels, mass movement, and the almost complete removal of vegetation in broad strips along the water-courses. Future work is presented in a theoretical context.
Several rainstorms with strong erosional effects have been recorded in Scandinavia during recent decades. The erosion occurs by the release of rapid mass movements on mountain slopes or through fluvial incision and bank collapse along streams and rivers. Various factors, such as terrain characteristics and seasonal timing of the rainstorm event, are thought to favour the predominance of either of the two types of erosion for particular events. A new example of this variable impact of rainstorms is briefly described, and related research issues are outlined.
A dendrochronological study was made on fossil tree trunks of Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris, preserved in a peat bog at Hanvedsmossen, 50 km SW of Stockholm, Sweden. Of 56 sampled pines, 48 were assembled in a 204-year long floating chro-nology. The chronology spans 1686-1483 BC ± 23 years. The trunks are found at the very bottom of the peat accumulation. Because the roots stand in underlying clay, the tree stand germinated before or simultaneously with bog growth and provides maximum age for bog vegetation development which started c. 1480 BC. The pine growth steadily decreased during the last 30 years of the chronology and most trees died during the same period. It is proposed that the drainage outlets from Hanvedsmossen overgrew with brushwood simultaneously with the succession of pines, resulting in a higher sensitivity of tree growth to small changes in water levels. The preservation of the logs is suggested to be a result of a raised water table providing anaerobic conditions and later the logs were enveloped by peat growth. It is suggested that this period was the initial phase of the ensuing climate deterioration. The climate shifted to wetter conditions, i.e. higher amounts of precipitation, lower temperature or both. This resulted in lower evaporation giving additional peat bog growth and a locally raised water table.
Although considerable attention has been paid to the record of temperature change over the last few centuries, the range and rate of change of atmospheric circulation and hydrology remain elusive. Here, eight latitudinally well-distributed (pole-equator-pole), highly resolved (annual to decadal) climate proxy records are presented that demonstrate major changes in these variables over the last 2000 years. A comparison between atmospheric 14C and these changes in climate demonstrates a first-order relationship between a variable Sun and climate. The relationship is seen on a global scale.
Jökulhlaups (glacial outburst floods) are common hazards in many glaciated environments. However, research on the controls on the sedimentological and geomorphological impact of jökulhlaups is rare. Developing a more comprehensive understanding of flood impacts may be useful for hazard identification, prediction and mitigation.This study determines the controls on the sedimentological and geomorphological impact of a jökulhlaup in January 2002 at Kverkfjöll, northern Iceland. This jökulhlaup, caused by geothermal activity, reached a peak discharge of 490 m3s−1 as recorded at a permanent gauging station 40 km downstream from the glacier snout. However, reconstructed peak discharges in the proximal part of the jökulhlaup channel near the glacier snout indicate a peak discharge of 2590 m3s−1. The jökulhlaup hydrograph was characterized by a rapid rising stage and a more gradual falling stage. As a result, sedimentary and geomorphological impacts included poorly sorted, structureless, matrix-supported deposits; massive sand units; clast-supported units; ice-proximal cobbles, rip-up clasts and kettle-holes; and steep-sided kettle-holes. These features are proposed to be characteristic of rapid rising stage deposition. Additionally, large-scale gravel bars and bedload sheets prograded and migrated during the rapid rising stage. The development of these bedforms was facilitated by high bedload transport rates, due to high discharge acceleration rates during the rapid rising stage. During the more prolonged falling stage, there was sufficient time for sediment incision and erosion to occur, exhuming cobbles, ice blocks and rip-up clasts, and creating well-defined terrace surfaces.This study provides a clearer understanding of hydrological and sedimentological processes and mechanisms operating during jökulhlaups, and helps to identify flood hazards more accurately, which is fundamental for hazard management and minimizing risk.
Mass transfers triggered by a rare rainfall event on 20–21 July, 2004, with 58.4 mm of rain within 24 h and 71.7 mm of rain within 48 h in the Latnjavagge catchment (9 km2 , 950–1440 m a.s.l.; 68°20'N, 18°30'E) in the higher Abisko mountain region (Swedish Lapland), are quantified and analysed in direct comparison with mean annual mass transfers in this drainage basin. In years without rare rainfall events the Latnjavagge catchment is characterized by restricted sediment availability resulting in low mechanical denudation and mass transfers. During the rare rainfall event of 20–21 July, 2004, major stability thresholds on the slope systems (triggering debris flows and slides) and in the channel systems (break-up of channel debris pavements and step–pool systems) in the Latnjavagge catchment were passed and mass transfers by debris flows, slides and fluvial debris transport in creeks and channels were several times higher than the mean annual mass transfers in Latnjavagge. In the calculation of longer-term mass transfers and sediment budgets, rare events like the 20–21 July, 2004 rainfall event have to be considered as essential components. A reliable estimation of the recurrence intervals of such rare events is especially problematic. The general problem of defining an adequate length of process monitoring programmes is pointed out.
Kellerer-Pirklbauer, A., Lieb, G.K.,Avian, M. and Carrivick, J., 2012. Climate change and rock fall events in high mountain areas: numerous and extensive rock falls in 2007 at Mittlerer Burgstall, Central Austria. Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography, 94, 597ndash;78. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0459.2011.00449.x
Landslides in alpine areas are becoming more frequent. In 2007, a number of rock fall events occurred on the sharp SE-ridge of the mountain Mittlerer Burgstall (2933 m a.s.l., 47° 06′ 07″ N; 12° 42′ 36″ E) completely changing the shape of the mountain. Before the events, the SE-ridge was sharp with steep rock faces on both sides. The mountain was a nunatak surrounded by two glacier tongues of Pasterze Glacier during the Little Ice Age. In this paper we use geomorphological mapping, permafrost distribution modelling, glacier reconstruction, surface and near-surface ground temperature data, air temperature data, and airborne laserscanning data to assess these multiple rock fall events. Results show that the entire area of detachment covers 3100 m2. The areas of transportation and deposition cover 85 000 m2 partly contributing to the supraglacial debris cover of Pasterze Glacier. The volume of all rock fall deposits is about 56 000 m3. Permafrost modelling and ground temperature monitoring indicate that the area of detachment is located near the lower limit of discontinuous permafrost. Permafrost is relatively warm and thin at the summit area of Mittlerer Burgstall with a mean temperature of only –1.0°C at 1.8 m depth in 2007–2010. Substantial surface lowering of the glacier tongues surrounding the mountain on both sides (by −250 and −70 m since the Little Ice Age) changed the stress and strain field in the bedrock. Furthermore, the generally highly fractured bedrock favoured slope instability. The triggering event for the rock falls were most likely the effects of the warm winter of 2006/07 which was 2.2–4.8°C warmer compared to the seven winters before. A monitoring programme regarding future rock falls at Mittlerer Burgstall is ongoing.
Many temperate glaciers in the southeast Tibetan Plateau are covered by supraglacial debris in the ablation area. To evaluate the effect of such debris on summer ablation and mass balance, the surface ablation on the 24K Glacier was measured in the summer of 2008. Mean ablation rates varied from 10 to 52 mm/day, strongly correlated to debris thickness. Synchronous observations of air temperature allowed application of a simple degree-day model to calculate ablation rates. Maximum values of both ablation rate and degree-day factors appeared in the middle area of the glacier where the debris layer thickness was about 1 cm. The simulated daily ablation obtained from the degree-day approach showed that the debris layers significantly affected the total summer ablation. The calculated ablation would be increased by 36% of the total ablation with the actual surface debris cover if glacier surface had been assumed to be entirely debris free. If completely covered by 65 cm thick debris in the ablation area, the glacier would experience a 59% decrease in summer ablation. The presence of a debris cover also leads to a change in the ablation gradient in the ablation zone.
A Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) tree-ring width chronology from Jmtland, in the central Scandinavian Mountains, built from living and sub-fossil wood, covering the period 1632 BC to AD 2002, with a minor gap during AD 887–907, is presented. This is the first multi-millennial tree-ring chronology from the central parts of Fennoscandia. Pine growth in this tree line environment is mainly limited by summer temperatures, and hence the record can be viewed as a temperature proxy. Using the regional curve standardization (RCS) technique, pine-growth variability on short and long time scales was retained and subsequently summer (June–August) temperatures were reconstructed yielding information on temperature variability during the last 3600 years. Several periods with anomalously warm or cold summers were found: 450–550 BC (warm), AD 300–400 (cold), AD 900–1000 (the Medieval Warm Period, warm) and AD 1550–1900 (Little Ice Age, cold). The coldest period was encountered in the fourth century AD and the warmest period 450 to 550 BC. However, the magnitude of these anomalies is uncertain since the replication of trees in the Jmtland record is low during those periods. The twentieth century warming does not stand out as an anomalous feature in the last 3600 years. Two multi-millennial tree-ring chronologies from Swedish and Finnish Lapland, which have previously been used as summer temperature proxies, agree well with the Jmtland record, indicating that the latter is a good proxy of local, but also regional, summer temperature variability.
Multiple overlapping and replicate pollen stratigraphies from Canal de la Puntilla (40°57’09”S, 72°54’18”W, 120 m elevation) reveal that a Nothofagus dombeyi-type parkland occupied the Valle Central of the Chilean Lake District during the portion of the Last Glacial Maximum between 20,200 and about 14,600 ¹⁴C yr BP. Dominating this landscape was Nothofagus dombeyi-type and Gramineae, accompanied by taxa commonly found today in Subantarctic environments and above the Andean tree-line in the Lake District (Perezia-type, Valeriana, and Huperzia selago), along with cushion bog taxa characteristic of Magellanic Moorlands (Donatia fascicularis and Astelia pumila). Within this open landscape Nothofagus dombeyi-type expanded between 20,200 and 15,800 ¹⁴C yr BP, interrupted by a brief reversal between 19,200 and 18,800 ¹⁴ C yr BP and followed by a prominent increase in Gramineae pollen between 15,800 and about 14,600 ¹⁴C yr BP. A major rise of Nothofagus dombeyi-type began at about 14,600 ¹⁴C yr BP, followed by decline in non-arboreal taxa and a remarkable expansion of North Patagonian Rain Forest taxa in pulses centered at 14,200 and 13,000 ¹⁴C yr BP. Podocarpus nubigena expanded between 12,200 and 9800 ¹⁴C yr BP, along with increases in Misodendrum and Maytenus disticha-type between 11,000 and 9800 ¹⁴C yr BP.
Statistical analysis of a multi-centennial dendrochronological proxy dataset of regional climate, constructed across the latitudinal gradient of 1000 km, was performed. It was shown that centennial (c. 100 year), tri-decadal (27-32 year), bi-decadal (17-23 year) and decadal (9-13 year) periodicities governed the climate variability in Finland over the last five centuries. Despite the fact that many of the climatic periodicities bore great resemblance to periodicities of solar cycles, little evidence of actual solar influence on Finnish climate was found when the climate proxy records were subjected to linear correlation analysis with sunspot numbers. Highly non-linear response of Northern Fennoscandian climate to solar forcing might be a cause of this result, as well as influence of terrestrial climatic processes (e.g. effect of other forcing factors and internal dynamics of regional climate). Our results show that the presence of internal climate variability at time-scales of solar activity might distort the solar signature in climatic data and complicate its detection.
Initial cosmogenic 10Be results from a former ice limit in Torres del Paine indicate a shortlived stillstand or readvance of Patagonian ice culminating at 12–15 kyr BP with a mean age of 13.2 ± 0.8 kyr BP. The glacier extended some 40 km beyond the present ice margin and was within 15 km of the presumed Last Glacial Maximum limits. The timing of the glacier stage spans the cooling event recorded in Antarctic ice cores, termed the Antarctic Cold Reversal (14.5–12.9 kyr BP). This result implies that glaciers at these latitudes were out of phase with those in the northern hemisphere; instead they mirrored the climate structure of Antarctica during the last glacial to interglacial transition.
Solifluction movement rates from 1952 to 2008 for the Abisko region, northern Sweden, have been compiled and analysed through correlation tests and multiple regression. The temporal analysis is based on two datasets (Lobe11 & gridAB and Line B) from Kärkevagge. The dataset Lobe11 & gridAB show a strong correlation between movement rates and mean annual air temperature (MAAT) and MAAT is also identified as one of the significant contributing parameters in the multiple regression model. No significant correlations were found for the Line B dataset. The spatial analysis indicates generally higher movement rates in the western part of the region and at lower altitudes mainly between 700 and 900 m a.s.l., but the spatial variability is high. To reduce the influence of the temporal variation the data for the correlation tests of the spatial variations were divided into two parts: 1957 to 1980 and 1981 to 2008. The correlation analysis of the dataset 1957 to 1980 shows a significant negative correlation between annual average movement rates and permafrost probability and altitude. The dataset 1981 to 2008 shows a positive correlation between movement rates and wetness index. It is concluded that movement rates may increase with higher MAAT in the western part of the region (Kärkevagge), the spatial variability of movement rates within the region is very high and that altitude (and/or permafrost) together with wetness index are the main controls on the regional spatial variation. The study highlights the limitations in establishing statistical relationships between movement rates and climate using data from different field empirical studies.
Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios from bones of contemporaneous Late Atlantic aurochs and early cattle in eastern Denmark are significantly different and provide information on the origin and feeding strategies of the earliest domestic cattle. The data show that the early cattle were feeding on grass right from the beginning 4000 cal. yr BC. In contrast, the youngest aurochs population primarily browsed and grazed from the dense forest floor resulting in rather negative δ13C values measured on bone collagen. The oldest aurochs have similar isotope values to the earlier cattle, whereas the youngest aurochs have similar values to Late Atlantic red deer from the same locality. As eastern Denmark was largely covered by forest, speculations on the origin of the grazing areas are many. The grass may have grown in openings in the forest, at the forest fringe, or more likely on the newly reclaimed coastal land areas exposed by the decreasing rate of eustatic sea-level rise contemporaneously with isostatic uplift, during the Littorina transgressions. The stable isotope values do not indicate that leaf foddering of the early cattle was of importance.
Pohjola, V.A., Kankaanpää, P., Moore, J.C. and Pastusiak, T., 2011. The International Polar Year Project ‘KINNVIKA’– Arctic warming and impact research at 80° N. Geografiska Annaler, Series A, Physical Geography, 93, 201–208. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0459.2011.00436.x
Based on measurements made over the past 50 years and data extracted from historical documents, a study has been made of the effect of human activities on the growth of the Yellow River delta over a time scale of 102-103 years. During the period studied, the Yellow River emptied into the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea, successively, and the deltas it created are known as the Abandoned and Modern Yellow River deltas. The growth of the Abandoned Yellow River delta can be divided into two stages. The first extended from AD 1194 to 1578, during which the growth was rather slow. The second extended from AD 1579 to 1855, when the growth was greatly accelerated. The curve showing the temporal variation of the growth of the Modern Yellow River mouth can be fitted by three straight lines with different slopes. Accordingly, its growth from 1855 to present can be divided into three stages, and the inflection points associated with three straight lines may be regarded as threshold points, reflecting marked changes in the nature and extent of human activities. On this basis, a three-stage descriptive model has been proposed to describe the process of river mouth extension in response to changing human activities.
Luoto, T.P., Nevalainen, L., Kubischta, F., Kultti, S., Knudsen, K.L. and Salonen, V.-P., 2011: Late Quaternary ecological turnover in high arctic Lake Einstaken, Nordaustlandet, Svalbard (80° N). Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography, 93, 337–354. DOI:10.1111/j.1468-0459.2011.00435.x
Multiproxy palaeolimnological analyses of a sediment core record from Lake Einstaken, Nordaustlandet, give insight into long-term ecological and environmental dynamics in the High Arctic Svalbard during the last c. 13 000 cal yr bp. Fossil remains of foraminifera, chironomidae, cladocera and diatoms (Bacillariophyta) revealed several distinct ecological turnovers during the late Quaternary. The foraminiferal assemblages in a marine interval in the lower part of the core indicated one distinct faunal turnover and two subsequent minor changes. The foraminiferal assemblages reflected high-arctic, shallow-water conditions in an area of changing salinity conditions. A development of gradually more restricted marine conditions, presumably related to a decrease in water depth during the isostatic uplift, was evident from the foraminiferal assemblages. The Holocene was characterized by a freshwater environment in the isolated Lake Einstaken. The cladoceran assemblages experienced two complete faunal turnovers in the early part of the lacustrine sediment sequence, most likely related to inlake processes. The chironomid assemblages went through five distinct Holocene faunal changes that were probably mostly related to climate development and changes in nutrient conditions. The freshwater diatoms revealed four distinct episodes of change in their assemblages that could be related to their sensitivity to pH and nutrient status. The most distinct common feature in the Holocene faunal and floral assemblages was the pioneer phase during the early Holocene. The recent environmental changes, which were most visibly reflected in the chironomid records, are possibly related to a coupled effect of elevated nutrient conditions and increased temperatures.