Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Holocene Western Alps Glacier Culmination - Their hemispheric relevance

According to the authors1 the baseline to assess ongoing climate change is defined by natural variability of the Holocene climate. The record preserved in the Greenland ice cores shows that in the early Holocene warming was imposed by abrupt climate oscillations, with a following general cooling trend that occurred throughout the Middle and Late Holocene, culminating in the Little Ice Age (LIA). Throughout the Holocene tropical precipitation changes correlate with these patterns. At their study location in the European Alps the authors1 reconstructed the regional climate evolution in the Holocene and to test if there was a link with the climates of the mid-latitude, North Atlantic, and tropical climate. The authors1 obtained precise 10Be chronology from the Tsidjiore Nouve Glacier, in the western Swiss Alps, that indicated a glacier culmination occurred about 11.4 Ka in the earliest Holocene, that they suggest is likely to be related to the Preboreal Oscillation. The data from the study carried out by the authors1 indicate that there was no glacier advance in the Holocene prior to about 3.8 Ka at which time the glacier reached the LIA limits. The 10Be ages between 500 and 170 years correspond to the LIA, the youngest 10Be ages overlap with the post LIA glacier positions that were historically recorded. The authors1  propose, based on the integration of their data with existing records, a hemispheric climate link between the Alps, North Atlantic temperature, and patterns of tropical precipitation for the Holocene, which supports the concept of a pervasive climate driver. The results from studies of the northern mid-latitudes are consistent with the hypothesis that was formulated for the tropics, that the thermal equator of the Earth might have migrated to the south throughout the Holocene in response to temperature changes in the North Atlantic, then near the end of the LIA it reached the southern turning point.


Sources & Further reading

Schimmelpfennig, I., J.M. Schaefer, N. Akçar, S. Ivy-Ochs, R.C. Finkel, and C. Schlüchter. "Holocene Glacier Culminations in the Western Alps and Their Hemispheric Relevance." Geology 40, no. 10 (October 1, 2012 2012): 891-94.


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 28/02/2013

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