Article

Energy mass balance and flow modeling of early Holocene glaciers in the Queshque valley, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

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Abstract

Our limited knowledge of the timing and pattern of early Holocene climate variability in the tropical Andes hinders our ability to evaluate any potential linkages between low and high latitude oceanic-atmospheric dynamics. There is mounting evidence that glaciers in the Peruvian Andes stabilized at times during the early Holocene, suggesting there were periods of colder and/or wetter conditions that interrupted an overall pattern of a warmer and drier climate. Evaluating the global significance of these glacial fluctuations requires that the nature of these apparent cooling events and any shifts in the hy-drologic cycle be better quantified. Here we apply a physically-based glacier model to reconstruct and interpret early Holocene-aged paleoglaciers in steady-state with a range of tropical climatic conditions in the Queshque valley of the Cordillera Blanca, Peru (9.8 S). This model uses a LiDAR-based digital elevation model (DEM) and hourly meteorological data as inputs to calculate the fully-distributed surface energy and mass balance (SEMB). This approach allows us to better capture the diurnal range of environmental variability at a spatial resolution that has not been achieved with previous paleo-glacier modeling efforts in this region. A 3-D rendition of paleoglaciers was then developed based on a flow model that responds to the SEMB input, accounting for the valley topography. The model was validated by simulating glaciers that match both field and satellite observations of modern glacier area limits, as well as ice thicknesses that are consistent with recently measured ground-penetrating radar (GPR) profiles of the main glacier tongue. After adjusting for changes in early Holocene global radiation values, and using regional paleoclimate records as constraints for the model, the maximum early Holocene ice limit in the valley dating to~10.8 (±0.1) ka was reconstructed using a 3.0 C cooling and a 25% increase in precipitation relative to today. An up-valley ice extent dating to~9.4 (±0.3) ka was reconstructed using a 2.8 C cooling and no change in precipitation amounts relative to today. These results suggest that conditions were cold and wet enough to maintain glaciers at times during the early Holocene, even though a shift to drier conditions combined with modestly warmer temperatures drove a phase of ice retreat from at least~10.8 to~9.4 ka. These results suggest that southern tropical temperatures and the hydrologic cycle rapidly reorganized during the early Holocene in conjunction with diminishing ice sheets and shifting environmental conditions in the high latitudes.

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... The model also requires gridded surfaces for aspect and slope values that were calculated using the spatial analyst tools in ArcGIS 10.4.1. The model ran on the Cygwin64 C compiler following the approach of Stansell et al. (2022). The model ran with degree-day factors (DDFs) for ice and snow of 7 and 3.5 mmw. ...
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We review the history of the South American summer monsoon (SASM) over the past ~2000 yr based on high-resolution stable isotope proxies from speleothems, ice cores and lake sediments. Our review is complemented by an analysis of an isotope-enabled atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) for the past 130 yr. Proxy records from the monsoon belt in the tropical Andes and SE Brazil show a very coherent behavior over the past 2 millennia with significant decadal to multidecadal variability superimposed on large excursions during three key periods: the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), the Little Ice Age (LIA) and the current warm period (CWP). We interpret these three periods as times when the SASM's mean state was significantly weakened (MCA and CWP) and strengthened (LIA), respectively. During the LIA each of the proxy archives considered contains the most negative δ<sup>18</sup>O values recorded during the entire record length. On the other hand, the monsoon strength is currently rather weak in a 2000-yr historical perspective, rivaled only by the low intensity during the MCA. Our climatic interpretation of these archives is consistent with our isotope-based GCM analysis, which suggests that these sites are sensitive recorders of large-scale monsoon variations. We hypothesize that these centennial-scale climate anomalies were at least partially driven by temperature changes in the Northern Hemisphere and in particular over the North Atlantic, leading to a latitudinal displacement of the ITCZ and a change in monsoon intensity (amount of rainfall upstream over the Amazon Basin). This interpretation is supported by several independent records from different proxy archives and modeling studies. Although ENSO is the main forcing for δ<sup>18</sup>O variability over tropical South America on interannual time scales, our results suggest that its influence may be significantly modulated by North Atlantic climate variability on longer time scales. Finally, our analyses indicate that isotopic proxies, because of their ability to integrate climatic information on large spatial scales, could complement more traditional proxies such as tree rings or documentary evidence. Future climate reconstruction efforts could potentially benefit from including isotopic proxies as large-scale predictors in order to better constrain past changes in the atmospheric circulation.
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This paper reports on glacier variations in two mountainous regions of the world, the Alps and the tropical Andes. Available records of snout position and glacier mass balance are compared and interpreted on a climatological basis. In both regions, there is a long-term decreasing trend over the 20th century. The yield of this trend is different from one glacier to the other, depending on geographic and geometric characteristics. Analysing the surface energy balance, net all wave radiation is the main energy flux at the glacier surface. The turbulent fluxes represent an important term with strong positive sensible heat flux in the Alps and strong negative latent heat flux (sublimation) in the Andes. Tropical glaciers are sensitive to inter-annual variations in solid precipitation that affects the albedo, whereas Alpine glaciers are strongly influenced by air temperature changes in the Alps. © 2004 Académie des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
Article
Tropical glaciers have retreated alongside warming temperatures over the past century, yet the way in which these trends fit into a long-term geological context is largely unclear. Here, we present reconstructions of Holocene glacier extents relative to today from the Quelccaya ice cap (Peru) and the Rwenzori Mountains (Uganda) based on measurements of in situ14C and 10Be from recently exposed bedrock. Ice-extent histories are similar at both sites and suggest that ice was generally smaller than today during the first half of the Holocene and larger than today for most, if not all, of the past several millennia. The similar glaciation history in South America and Africa suggests that large-scale warming followed by cooling of the tropics during the late Holocene primarily drove ice extent, rather than regional changes in precipitation. Our results also imply that recent tropical ice retreat is anomalous in a multimillennial context.
Article
The spatial distribution of surface air temperatures is essential for understanding and modeling high‐relief environments. Good estimations of the surface temperature lapse rate (STLR) and the 0°C isotherm height (H0) are fundamental for hydrological modeling in mountainous basins. Although STLR changes in space and time, it is typically assumed to be constant leading to errors in the estimation of direct‐runoff volumes and flash‐floods risk assessment. This paper characterizes daily and seasonal temporal variations of the in‐situ STLR and H0 over the western slope of the subtropical Andes (central Chile). We use temperature data collected during two years every 10 min by a 16 sensors network in a small catchment with elevations ranging between 700 and 3,250 m. The catchment drains directly into Santiago, the Chilean capital with more than 7 million inhabitants. Resulting values are compared against those obtained using off‐site, operational data sets. Significant intra‐ and inter‐day variations of the in‐situ STLR were found, likely reflecting changes in the low‐level temperature inversion during dry conditions. The annual average in‐situ STLR is −5.9°C/km during wet‐weather conditions. Furthermore, STLR and H0 estimations using off‐site gauges are extremely sensitive to the existence of gauging stations at high elevations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
As on all Peruvian Cordilleras, the glaciers on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera Blanca extend to generally lower elevations than those on the western slopes. The mountain range of Santa Cruz–Pucahirca possesses the largest east–west extension within the Cordillera Blanca. A significant retreat of the glaciers between two quasi-stationary situations around 1930 and 1950 was reconstructed from air photographs. The derived ELAs as well as the ∆ELA1930–50 show spatial diversities. The pattern of the ELAs is caused by differences in both accumulation and effective global radiation. The change in ELAs1930–50 is partly due to a spatially uniform increase in air temperature. The remaining rise of the equilibrium line, which varies within different parts of the investigation area, has to be related to changes in precipitation and effective global radiation. Both correspond to changes in air humidity which is suggested to be an important factor for tropical glacier fluctuations. A model of superposed typical tropical circulation patterns of different scales and ELA–climate model-based approaches is presented.
Article
With a total of 723 km2 of glaciers (1970) the Cordillera Blanca includes the largest glacier-covered area in the tropics. The climate is characterized by relatively large daily and small seasonal temperature variations as well as by a distinct succession between a dry (May–September) and a wet season (October–April). Since the early 1970s an ablation stake network has been installed on the tongues of the glaciers Uruashraju and Yanamarey. The determination of the equilibrium-line altitude at each end of a wet season was possible, showing a fair correlation with temperature, but not with the precipitation records of the nearby climatological station Querococha. Mean ablation rates at the lowest parts of the glacier tongues are markedly higher during the wet season than during the dry season. Reasons are presumably to be found in the seasonal variation of cloudiness and air moisture rates. Terminus variations of four glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca have been monitored since the early seventies, earlier positions are reconstructed back to 1948 by vertical air photographs. For the glaciers Uruashraju and Yanamarey the terminus positions of 1939 are known from an early map. The general retreat of glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca during the last five decades correlates with the global attitude of glaciers and especially with the attitude of glaciers in other tropical areas. Decreased recession rates with minor advances (1974–79 and 1985–86) are accompanied by lower annual temperatures and preceded and accompanied by years with relatively high annual precipitation sums.
Book
Tropical atmosphere and ocean are receiving increased attention in relation to the functioning of the global climate system, the remarkable climatic variability in low latitudes, and the associated manifold environmental and societal consequences. Beyond the traditional emphasis of meteor ology on weather analysis and forecasting, there is a growing interest in the climate and large scale circulation of the tropics. This book may serve as a text for graduate and upper-division undergraduate students in meteorology, and is also intended as a reference work for practicing meteorologists, and researchers in the atmospheric, oceanic, and other environmental sciences. I began writing this book in 1979, but the roots reach further back. Early experiences in North Africa fuelled my curiosity about the low latitudes. In 1960 I seized the opportunity to work in the National Meteorological Service of El Salvador in Central America. My interest in the tropics continued after joining the University of Wisconsin in 1963. Field research brought me to the equatorial Pacific, and many times to the tropical Americas and Africa. This involved visits and correspondence with many weather services. My acquaintance with Australasia and South Asia is limited to short study visits, but includes continuous contacts with colleagues at key research institutions in India, namely the India Meteorological Department, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, and Andhra University. A guest semester at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1971 and related travels provided a perspective on the problems of Southern Africa."
Article
Evaluating the timing and style of past glacier fluctuations in the tropical Andes is important for our scientific understanding of global environmental change. Terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) ages on moraine boulders combined with 14C-dated clastic sediment records from alpine lakes document glacial variability in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru during the last ca. 16 ka. Late Glacial ice extents culminated at the start of the Antarctic Cold Reversal (ACR) and began retracting prior to the Younger Dryas (YD). Multiple moraine crests dating to the early Holocene mark brief readvances or stillstands that punctuated overall retreat of the Queshque valley glacier terminus during this interval. Glaciers were less extensive during the middle Holocene before readvancing during the latest Holocene. These records suggest that tropical Atlantic and Pacific ocean-atmospheric processes exerted temporally variable forcing of Late Glacial and Holocene glacial changes in the Peruvian Andes.
Article
Two well-dated d 18 O-speleothem records from Shatuca cave, situated on the northeastern flank of the Peruvian Andes (1960 m asl) were used to reconstruct high-resolution changes in precipitation during the Holocene in the South American Summer Monsoon region (SASM). The records show that precipitation increased gradually throughout the Holocene in parallel with the austral summer insolation trend modulated by the precession cycle. Additionally the Shatuca speleothem record shows several hydro-climatic changes on both longer-and shorter-term time scales, some of which have not been described in previous paleoclimatic reconstructions from the Andean region. Such climate episodes, marked by negative excursions in the Shatuca d 18 O record were logged at 9.7e9.5, 9.2, 8.4, 8.1, 5.0, 4.1, 3.5, 3.0, 2.5, 2.1 and 1.5 ka b2k, and related to abrupt multi-decadal events in the SASM. Some of these events were likely associated with changes in sea surface temperatures (SST) during Bond events in the North Atlantic region. On longer time scales, the low d 18 O values reported between 5.1-5.0, 3.5e3.0 and 1.5 ka b2k were contemporaneous with periods of increased sediment influx at Lake Pallcacocha in the Andes of Ecuador, suggesting that the late Holocene intensification of the monsoon recorded at Shatuca site may also have affected high altitudes of the equatorial Andes further north. Numerous episodes of low SASM intensity (dry events) were recorded by the Shatuca record during the Holocene, in particular at 10.2, 9.8, 9.3, 6.5, 5.1, 4.9, 2.5 and 2.3 ka b2k, some of them were synchronous with dry periods in previous Andean records.
Article
The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a major driver of climate variability in the tropical Andes, where recent Niño and Niña events left an observable footprint on glacier mass balance. The nature and strength of the relationship between ENSO and glacier mass balance, however, varies between regions and time periods, leaving several unanswered questions about its exact mechanisms. The starting point of this study is a 4-year long time series of distributed surface energy and mass balance (SEB/SMB) calculated using a process-based model driven by observations at Shallap Glacier (Cordillera Blanca, Peru). These data are used to calibrate a regression-based downscaling model that links the local SEB/SMB fluxes to atmospheric reanalysis variables on a monthly basis, allowing an unprecedented quantification of the ENSO influence on the SEB/SMB at climatological time scales (1980–2013, ERA-Interim period). We find a stronger and steadier anti-correlation between Pacific sea-surface temperature (SST) and glacier mass balance than previously reported. This relationship is most pronounced during the wet season (December–May) and at low altitudes where Niño (Niña) events are accompanied with a snowfall deficit (excess) and a higher (lower) radiation energy input. We detect a weaker but significant ENSO anti-correlation with total precipitation (Niño dry signal) and positive correlation with the sensible heat flux, but find no ENSO influence on sublimation. Sensitivity analyses comparing several downscaling methods and reanalysis data sets resulted in stable mass balance correlations with Pacific SST but also revealed large uncertainties in computing the mass balance trend of the last decades. The newly introduced open-source downscaling tool can be applied easily to other glaciers in the tropics, opening new research possibilities on even longer time scales.
Article
Discerning the timing and pattern of late Quaternary glacier variability in the tropical Andes is important for our understanding of global climate change. Terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) ages (48) on moraines and radiocarbon-dated clastic sediment records from a moraine-dammed lake at Nevado Huaguruncho, Peru, document the waxing and waning of alpine glaciers in the Eastern Cordillera during the past ~15 k.y. The integrated moraine and lake records indicate that ice advanced at 14.1 ± 0.4 ka, during the first half of the Antarctic Cold Reversal, and began retreating by 13.7 ± 0.4 ka. Ice retreated and paraglacial sedimentation declined until ca. 12 ka, when proxy indicators of glacigenic sediment increased sharply, heralding an ice advance that culminated in multiple moraine positions from 11.6 ± 0.2 ka to 10.3 ± 0.2 ka. Proxy indicators of glacigenic sediment input suggest oscillating ice extents from ca. 10 to 4 ka, and somewhat more extensive ice cover from 4 to 2 ka, followed by ice retreat. The lack of TCN ages from these intervals suggests that glaciers were less extensive than during the late Holocene. A final Holocene advance occurred during the Little Ice Age (LIA, ca. 0.4 to 0.2 ka) under colder and wetter conditions as documented in regional proxy archives. The pattern of glacier variability at Huaguruncho during the Late Glacial and Holocene is similar to the pattern of tropical Atlantic sea-surface temperatures, and provides evidence that prior to the LIA, ice extent in the eastern tropical Andes was decoupled from temperatures in the high-latitude North Atlantic.
Article
The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a major driver of climate variability in the tropical Andes, where recent Niño and Niña events left an observable footprint on glacier mass balance. The nature and strength of the relationship between ENSO and glacier mass balance, however, varies between regions and time periods, leaving several unanswered questions about its exact mechanisms. The starting point of this study is a four-year long time series of distributed surface energy and mass balance (SEB/SMB) calculated using a process-based model driven by observations at Shallap Glacier (Cordillera Blanca, Peru). These data are used to calibrate a regression-based downscaling model that links the local SEB/SMB fluxes to atmospheric reanalysis variables on a monthly basis, allowing an unprecedented quantification of the ENSO influence on the SEB/SMB at climatological time scales (1980–2013, ERA-Interim period). We find a stronger and steadier anti-correlation between pacific sea surface temperature (SST) and glacier mass balance than previously reported. This relationship is most pronounced during the wet season (December–May) and at low altitudes where Niño (Niña) events are accompanied with a snowfall deficit (excess) and a higher (lower) radiation energy input. We detect a weaker but significant ENSO anti-correlation with total precipitation (Niño dry signal) and positive correlation with the sensible heat flux, but find no ENSO influence on sublimation. Sensitivity analyses comparing several downscaling methods and reanalysis datasets resulted in stable mass balance correlations with pacific SST but also revealed large uncertainties in computing the mass balance trend of the last decades. The newly introduced open-source downscaling tool can be applied easily to other glaciers in the tropics, opening new research possibilities on even longer time scales.
Article
The combination of glacier outlines with digital elevation models (DEMs) opens new dimensions for research on climate change impacts over entire mountain chains. Of particular interest is the modeling of glacier thickness distribution, where several new approaches were proposed recently. The tool applied herein, GlabTop (Glacier bed Topography) is a fast and robust approach to model thickness distribution and bed topography for large glacier samples using a Geographic Information System (GIS). The method is based on an empirical relation between average basal shear stress and elevation range of individual glaciers, calibrated with geometric information from paleoglaciers, and validated with radio echo soundings on contemporary glaciers. It represents an alternative and independent test possibility for approaches based on mass-conservation and flow. As an example for using GlabTop in entire mountain ranges, we here present the modeled ice thickness distribution and bed topography for all Swiss glaciers along with a geomorphometric analysis of glacier characteristics and the overdeepenings found in the modeled glacier bed. These overdeepenings can be seen as potential sites for future lake formation and are thus highly relevant in connection with hydropower production and natural hazards. The thickest ice of the largest glaciers rests on weakly inclined bedrock at comparably low elevations, resulting in a limited potential for a terminus retreat to higher elevations. The calculated total glacier volume for all Swiss glaciers is 75 ± 22 km3 for 1973 and 65 ± 20 km3 in 1999. Considering an uncertainty range of ±30%, these results are in good agreement with estimates from other approaches.
Article
The tropical hydrologic cycle affects atmospheric trace gases and global climate change, and thus records of hydrologic change encompassing a variety of time scales from the low latitudes are important in paleoclimatology. Isotopic analysis of calcite from Lake Junin, Peru, provides a record of hydrologic variability that spans the last glacial-interglacial transition in the southern tropics. The record reveals a 6‰ enrichment in δ18Ocalcite during the late glacial followed by a gradual depletion during the Holocene, which can be interpreted as a decrease followed by a long-term increase in effective moisture. Close agreement between δ18Ocalcite and rainy season insolation indicates that long-term changes in tropical hydrology were linked to orbital variations. Furthermore, hydrologic change was out of phase in the northern and southern tropics over this time period.
Article
We developed records of clastic sediment flux to 13 alpine lakes in Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia, and compared these with independently dated records of regional glaciation. Our objectives are to determine whether a strong relationship exists between the extent of ice cover in the region and the rate of clastic sediment delivery to alpine lakes, and thus whether clastic sediment records serve as reliable proxies for glaciation during the late Pleistocene. We isolated the clastic component in lake sediment cores by removing the majority of the biogenic and authigenic components from the bulk sediment record, and we dated cores by a combination of radiocarbon and tephrochronology. In order to partially account for intra-basin differences in sediment focusing, bedrock erosivity, and sediment availability, we normalized each record to the weighted mean value of clastic sediment flux for each respective core. This enabled the stacking of all 13 lake records to produce a composite record that is generally representative of the tropical Andes. There is a striking similarity between the composite record of clastic sediment flux and the distribution of ∼100 cosmogenic radionuclide (CRN) exposure ages for erratics on moraine crests in the central Peruvian and northern Bolivian Andes. The extent of ice cover thus appears to be the primary variable controlling the delivery of clastic sediment to alpine lakes in the region, which bolsters the increasing use of clastic sediment flux as a proxy for the extent of ice cover in the region. The CRN moraine record and the stacked lake core composite record together indicate that the expansion of ice cover and concomitant increase in clastic sediment flux began at least 40ka, and the local last glacial maximum (LLGM) culminated between 30 and 20ka. A decline in clastic sediment flux that began ∼20ka appears to mark the onset of deglaciation from the LLGM, at least one millennium prior to significant warming in high latitude regions. The interval between 20 and 18ka was marked by near-Holocene levels of clastic sediment flux, and appears to have been an interval of much reduced ice extent. An abrupt increase in clastic sediment flux 18ka heralded the onset of an interval of expanded ice cover that lasted until ∼14ka. Clastic sediment flux declined thereafter to reach the lowest levels of the entire length of record during the early–middle Holocene. A middle Holocene climatic transition is apparent in nearly all records and likely reflects the onset of Neoglaciation and/or enhanced soil erosion in the tropical Andes.
Article
Standard methods of interpreting the paleoclimates recorded in alpine glacial geomorphic features rely on estimates of paleoglacier shape, commonly assume that relationships between mass balance gradient and equilibrium line altitude of modern glaciers apply equally well to glaciers of, in many cases, dramatically different climates, and do not account for the varying influence of topography on glacial extent. While those methods may be adequate for many studies, there are an increasing number of areas in which that level of analysis does not match the level of detail of the glacial chronologies being developed. As an alternative, we present a physically based, 2-D, glacier model that can be used to determine steady-state glacier shapes and distributions for a wide range of climatic conditions. The model requires only a modest amount of data beyond that which would be required for simpler methods, and includes a relatively accurate representation of the effects of topography on the largest component of the surface energy balance—shortwave radiation. It calculates 2-D, in the horizontal-plane, distribution of snow accumulation using a surface mass and energy balance approach and calculates the resultant glacier shapes with a 2-D flow model. In addition to offering a potentially more accurate reconstruction of paleoclimatic conditions, the model provides a means of performing detailed sensitivity analysis, establishing relationships between similar deposits in basins of different shape and aspect, and of predicting glacier shape terminus position in areas not yet explored.
Article
As on all Peruvian cordilleras, the glaciers on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera Blanca extend to generally lower elevations than those on the western slopes. The mountain range of Santa Cruz-Pucahirca possesses the largest east-west extension within the Cordillera Blanca. A significant retreat of the glaciers between two quasi-stationary situations around 1930 and 1950 was reconstructed from air photographs. The derived ELAs as well as the ΔELA1930-50 show spatial diversities. The pattern of the ELAs is caused by differences in both accumulation and effective global radiation. The change in ELAs1930-50 is partly due to a spatially uniform increase in air temperature. The remaining rise of the equilibrium line, which varies within different parts of the investigation area, has to be related to changes in precipitation and effective global radiation. Both correspond to changes in air humidity which is suggested to be an important factor for tropical glacier fluctuations. A model of superposed typical tropical circulation patterns of different scales and ELA-climate model-based approaches is presented.
Article
Oxygen isotope ratios of authigenic calcite (δ18Ocal) measured at annual to decadal resolution from Laguna Pumacocha document Andean precipitation variability during the last 11,200years. Modern limnological data show that Pumacocha δ18Ocal reflects the average annual isotopic composition of the lake's surface waters (δ18Olw), and that δ18Olw tracks the isotopic composition of precipitation (δ18Oprecip), which is largely controlled by the intensity of the South American summer monsoon (SASM). Based on these relationships we use down-core δ18Ocal measurements as a proxy for δ18Oprecip that varies with the intensity of SASM precipitation. Pumacocha δ18Ocal increased rapidly between 11,200 and 10,300yrB.P. from −14.5‰ to −10.5‰, reaching a maximum of −10.3‰ by 9800yrB.P. After 9800yrB.P., δ18Ocal underwent a long-term decrease that tracked increasing Southern Hemisphere summer insolation, suggesting that enhanced SASM precipitation was linked to precessional forcing. Higher-frequency trends did not follow insolation and therefore represent other variability in the climate system. Millennial-scale trends from Pumacocha strongly resemble those from lower-resolution tropical Andean ice and lake core isotopic records, particularly the Huascaran ice core, and low elevation speleothems. These relationships suggest that tropical Andean isotopic records reflect variations in precipitation intensity related to precessional forcing rather than tropical temperatures. They also demonstrate a coherent pattern of SASM variability, although with differences between low elevation and Andean records during the late Glacial to Holocene transition and the late Holocene. Centennial and decadal SASM precipitation variability is also apparent. Reduced SASM rainfall occurred from 10,000–9200, 7000–5000, 1500–900yrB.P. and during the last 100years. Intensifications of the SASM occurred at 5000, 2200–1500, and 550–130yrB.P. with the amplitude of variability increasing after 2200yrB.P. These periods may represent SASM responses to ocean–atmosphere variability related to orbital and radiative forcing (e.g., El Niño-Southern Oscillation and the Intertropical Convergence Zone).
Article
A grid-based surface energy-balance mass-balance model has been developed to simulate snow- and ice melt in mountainous regions with an hourly resolution. The model is applied to Storglaciären, a valley glacier in Sweden, using a 30 m resolution digital elevation model. Emphasis is directed towards computing the radiation components. These are modelled individually, considering the effects of slope angle, aspect and effective horizon. A new parameterization for snow albedo is suggested, modifying the albedo of the preceding hour as a function of time after snowfall, air temperature and cloudiness. The model is used to provide the meltwater input for discharge modelling and to assess the influence of the individual components on melt. Results are validated by means of observed melt rates, patterns of snow-line retreat and proglacial discharge. In general, simulations are in good agreement with observations. In particular, the diurnal and seasonal fluctuations of discharge are simulated remarkably well.
Article
The transition from the Last Glacial to the Holocene is a key period for understanding the mechanisms of global climate change. Ice cores from the large polar ice sheets provide a wealth of information with good time resolution for this period. However, interactions between the two hemispheres can only be investigated if ice core records from Greenland and Antarctica can be synchronised accurately and reliably. The atmospheric methane concentration shows large and very fast changes during this period. These variations are well suited for a synchronisation of the age scales of ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica. Here we confirm the proposed lead of the Antarctic Cold Reversal on the Younger Dryas cold event. The Antarctic cooling precedes the Younger Dryas by at least 1.8 kyr. This suggests that northern and southern hemispheres were in anti-phase during the Younger Dryas cold event. A further result of the synchronisation is that the long-term glacial-interglacial increase of atmospheric CO2 was not interrupted during the Younger Dryas event and that atmospheric CO2 changes are not necessarily dominated by changes in the North Atlantic circulation.
Article
The depression of snowlines, or equilibrium-line altitudes, of alpine glaciers is often used by glacial geologists to infer variations in mass balance. The climatic interpretation of snowline depression, however, is complicated by the number of factors that control glacier mass balance. The simple lapse-rate method of temperature interpretation ignores the effects of changes in radiation and snow accumulation. The statistical approach to temperature interpretation, which regresses precipitation and temperature against snowline altitude, neglects the effect of radiation. The most comprehensive approach for the climatic interpretation of snowline depression couples the heat and mass balances of a glacier surface. A sensitivity analysis that utilizes the coupled heat- and mass-balance approach indicates that the ∼1000-m variation in snowline of alpine glaciers on glacial-to-interglacial time scales could be a result of significant changes in temperature, and to a lesser extent changes in insolation. Snowline variations are sensitive only to relatively large changes in annual accumulation, which should also be evident in other proxy records of moisture change. The approaches outlined here provide glacial geologists with a summary of how various climatic forcings associated with glaciation may be quantified from snowline data.
Article
Mylonite textures in granodiorite boulders are responsible for higher rates of surface denudation of host rocks and the progressive development of unusual rock weathering features, termed weathering posts. These textures are characterized by smaller grain sizes, higher biotite content, and a higher biotite axial ratio in host rocks relative to weathering posts. Elemental concentrations do not show a significant difference between weathering posts and the host rocks in which they are found, and this reflects the absence of a weathering residue on the rock surfaces. Chemical weathering loosens the bonds between mineral grains through the expansion of biotite, and the loosened grains fall off or are blown off the boulder surface and continue their chemical alteration in the surrounding soil. The height of weathering posts on late Quaternary moraines increases at a linear rate of ~1.45±0.45 cm (1000 yr)−1 until post heights reach the diameter of host rocks. Such a rate of boulder denudation, if unrecognized, would generate significant errors (N20%) in cosmogenic exposure ages for Pleistocene moraines. Given the paucity of boulders with diameters that significantly exceed 1.5 m, the maximum age of utility of weathering posts as a numeric age indicator is ~100 ka.
Article
A detailed glaciological observation program was conducted on the Yanamarey Glacier in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru, including the monitoring of net balance and ice flow velocity during 1977-1988 and mappings of the surface topography in 1973, 1982, and 1988. These observations are here evaluated to combine net balance, surface lowering, and ice flow into a consistent picture of the mode of operation of a tropical glacier on the scale of a decade. The glacier extends between 5100 and 4500 m with a total area of 9×105 m2 and length of about 1.3 km. Maximum flow velocity is 17.4 m yr-1 and maximum volume flux 336×103 m3 yr-1. In the ablation area, net balance is about -6 m yr-1 and surface lowering 3 m yr-1. About half of the mean annual water discharge from the glacier of 80 L s-1 is not renewed by precipitation but supplied by the ice thinning. The rate of surface lowering of 1.5 m yr-1 liquid water equivalent translates to a glacier average departure heat supply for melting of 16 W m-2. Sensitivity analyses indicate that this could be produced by a cloudiness increase of less than one tenth, an air temperature decrease of 2°C, an increment in specific humidity of less than 1 g kg-1, or some combination of heat budget processes. Such changes in the atmospheric environment would be required to stabilize the glacier at its recent volume. As another indication of the recent imbalance, the maximum volume flux is found some 100 m below the equilibrium line altitude. Under continuation of the recent climatic conditions, the glacier may survive for more than half a century.
Article
Several different approaches of various complexities have been used in glacier and ice sheet modelling studies. Amongst them, owing to its simplicity, the Shallow Ice Approximation appears to be the most widely adopted method. This approach, essentially used for ice sheets, owes its success to the shallow aspect of the modelled ice mass embodied in an aspect ratio ζ. When considering smaller ice bodies like alpine-type glaciers, the question arises as to whether the SIA is still valid, given that the method is all the more accurate as ζ is small. In order to test the domain of applicability of the method, results of a SIA finite difference model are compared to those of a finite element model in which the flow equations are fully considered. From a set of two-dimensional flow tests, it is shown that the accuracy of the method is much more deteriorated with increasing bedrock slopes than it is with increasing accumulation rates, even if higher accumulations lead to thicker glaciers with a larger ζ. This leads to the conclusion that when slopes become pronounced, it is a bedrock-related aspect ratio that becomes of relevance such that the bedrock slope should be the most important parameter to consider for assessing the validity of the SIA Method. A 3-dimensional simulation shows that longitudinal shear stresses explain a large part of the misfit between SIA and full-Stokes approaches. To cite this article: E. Le Meur et al., C. R. Physique 5 (2004).
Article
Evidence for abrupt climate changes on millennial and shorter timescales is widespread in marine and terrestrial climate records(1-4). Rapid reorganization of ocean circulation is considered to exert some control over these changes(5), as are shifts in the concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases(6). The response of the climate system to these two influences is fundamentally different: slowing of thermohaline overturn in the North Atlantic Ocean is expected to decrease northward heat transport by the ocean and to induce warming of the tropical Atlantic(7,8), whereas atmospheric greenhouse forcing should cause roughly synchronous global temperature changes(9). So these two mechanisms of climate change should be distinguishable by the timing of surface-water temperature variations relative to changes in deep-water circulation. Here we present a high-temporal-resolution record of sea surface temperatures from the western tropical North Atlantic Ocean which spans the past 29,000 years, derived from measurements of temperature-sensitive alkenone unsaturation in sedimentary organic matter. We find significant warming is documented for Heinrich event HI (16,900-15,400 calendar years BP) and the Younger Dryas event (12,900-11,600 cal. yr BP), which were periods of intense cooling in the northern North Atlantic. Temperature changes in the tropical and high-latitude North Atlantic are out of phase, suggesting that the thermohaline circulation was the important trigger for these rapid climate changes.
Article
Glacial geological studies in tropical mountain areas of the Southern Hemisphere can be used to address two issues of late Pleistocene climate change: the global synchroneity of deglaciation and the magnitude of temperature reduction in the tropics. Radiocarbon dates from the Cordillera Real and from other areas in Perú and Bolivia suggest that late Pleistocene glaciation culminated between 14 000 and 12 000 yr BP, followed by rapid deglaciation. Because deglaciation was apparently synchronous with that in Northern Hemisphere regions, insolation change at high latitudes may not have been the only factor that produced global deglaciation at this time. Late Pleistocene glaciation in the Cordillera Real culminated when precipitation was 200 mm yr−1 higher and temperatures were 3.5° ±1.6°C lower than today; this produced an equilibrium-line altitude depression of about 300 ± 100 m on the western side of the cordillera. Prior to this, conditions were drier and probably at least as cold. However, the lack of moraines in the Cordillera Real dated to the Last Glacial Maximum (ca. 18000 yr BP) precludes using the equilibrium-line altitude method to quantitatively evaluate the discrepancy between warm sea-surface temperatures and cold terrestrial conditions reconstructed with other proxies for this time period.