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Holocene glacier culminations in the Western Alps and their hemispheric relevance

I. Schimmelpfennig, J. M. Schaefer, N. Akcar, S. Ivy-Ochs, R. C. Finkel and C. Schluechter
Holocene glacier culminations in the Western Alps and their hemispheric relevance
Geology (Boulder) (August 2012) 40 (10): 891-894


The natural variability of Holocene climate defines the baseline to assess ongoing climate change. Greenland ice-core records indicate warming superimposed by abrupt climate oscillations in the early Holocene, followed by a general cooling trend throughout the middle and late Holocene that culminated during the Little Ice Age (LIA). Tropical precipitation changes correlate with these patterns throughout the Holocene. Here we use mountain glaciers in the European Alps to reconstruct the regional Holocene climate evolution and to test for a link between mid-latitude, North Atlantic, and tropical climate. Our precise (super 10) Be chronology from Tsidjiore Nouve Glacier, western Swiss Alps, indicates a glacier culmination during the earliest Holocene approximately 11.4 k.y. ago, likely related to the Preboreal Oscillation. Based on our data, no Holocene glacier advance of similar amplitude occurred until approximately 3.8 k.y. ago, when the glacier reached LIA limits. The (super 10) Be ages between 500 and 170 yr correspond to the LIA, while the youngest (super 10) Be ages overlap with the historically recorded post-LIA glacier positions. Integrating our data with existing records, we propose a hemispheric climate link between the Alps, North Atlantic temperature, and tropical precipitation patterns for the Holocene, supporting the concept of a pervasive climate driver. These findings from northern mid-latitudes are consistent with the hypothesis formulated for the tropics that the Earth's thermal equator, responding to North Atlantic temperature changes, might have migrated southward throughout the Holocene, reaching the southern turning point toward the end of the LIA.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 40
Serial Issue: 10
Title: Holocene glacier culminations in the Western Alps and their hemispheric relevance
Affiliation: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States
Pages: 891-894
Published: 20120801
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 30
Accession Number: 2012-075407
Categories: Quaternary geologyGeochronology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: With GSA Data Repository Item 2012253; accessed on August 6, 2012
Illustration Description: illus. incl. geol. sketch map
Source Medium: WWW
N46°00'00" - N46°19'60", E07°00'00" - E07°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Bern, CHE, SwitzerlandEidgenoessische Technische Hochschule, CHE, SwitzerlandUniversity of California at Berkeley, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201239
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