To improve current understanding of ongoing deglaciation dynamics in relation to climatic forcing, it is critical to build long-term series of climate and glacier changes. This task is typically hampered by availability and resolution of Quaternary glacier paleo-reconstructions. To explore opportunities and challenges, we present a case study from Val Viola, which integrates area, volume and ELA changes across a 13k-year time window, including four Younger Dryas–Early Holocene glacier stadials and eight post-LIA periods. Results suggest that relevant shifts in climatic forcing associated with the Pleistocene–Holocene transition and post-LIA deglaciation phases are of comparable magnitude, with an atmospheric temperature increase of about 1.5–2°C. Post-LIA decline in glacierized areas (68.9 ± 6%) is comparable with retreat rates recorded in other Italian glaciers, but is greater than elsewhere in the Alps, where glaciers are comparably larger. Glacier stability in the particularly warm 2007–2015 period testifies to the decoupling attained by small glaciers from synoptic atmospheric conditions. We argue that this is caused by enhanced wind drift and avalanche accumulation, occurred in response to morphological changes on ice surfaces following progressive glacier shrinking. This positive feedback not only could delay glacier extinction in certain physiographic settings but also could introduce bias in paleo-glaciological reconstructions of climatic conditions.

Evaluating millennial to contemporary time scales of glacier change in Val Viola, Central Italian Alps

Scotti, Riccardo
;
Brardinoni, Francesco
2018

Abstract

To improve current understanding of ongoing deglaciation dynamics in relation to climatic forcing, it is critical to build long-term series of climate and glacier changes. This task is typically hampered by availability and resolution of Quaternary glacier paleo-reconstructions. To explore opportunities and challenges, we present a case study from Val Viola, which integrates area, volume and ELA changes across a 13k-year time window, including four Younger Dryas–Early Holocene glacier stadials and eight post-LIA periods. Results suggest that relevant shifts in climatic forcing associated with the Pleistocene–Holocene transition and post-LIA deglaciation phases are of comparable magnitude, with an atmospheric temperature increase of about 1.5–2°C. Post-LIA decline in glacierized areas (68.9 ± 6%) is comparable with retreat rates recorded in other Italian glaciers, but is greater than elsewhere in the Alps, where glaciers are comparably larger. Glacier stability in the particularly warm 2007–2015 period testifies to the decoupling attained by small glaciers from synoptic atmospheric conditions. We argue that this is caused by enhanced wind drift and avalanche accumulation, occurred in response to morphological changes on ice surfaces following progressive glacier shrinking. This positive feedback not only could delay glacier extinction in certain physiographic settings but also could introduce bias in paleo-glaciological reconstructions of climatic conditions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/657198
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