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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-37
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-37
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 11 Apr 2019

Submitted as: research article | 11 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Glacier equilibrium line altitude variations during the “Little Ice Age” in the Mediterranean Andes (30◦–37◦ S)

Álvaro González-Reyes1, Claudio Bravo2, Mathias Vuille3, Martin Jacques-Coper4, Maisa Rojas5, Esteban Sagredo6, and James McPhee7,8 Álvaro González-Reyes et al.
  • 1Laboratorio de Dendrocronología y Cambio Global, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y Recursos Naturales, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile
  • 2School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, NY, USA
  • 4Departamento de Geofísica and Center for Climate and Resilience Research (CR)2, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile
  • 5Departamento de Geofísica and Center for Climate and Resilience Research (CR)2, FCFM, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • 6Departamento de Geografía, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • 7Departamento Ingeníeria Civil, FCFM, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • 8Advanced Mining Technology Center AMTC, FCFM, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Abstract. The "Little Ice Age" (LIA; 1500–1850 Common Era (CE)), has long been recognized as the last period when mountain glaciers in many regions of the Northern Hemisphere (NH) recorded extensive growth intervals in terms of their ice mass and frontal position. The knowledge about this relevant paleoclimatic interval is vast in mountainous regions such as the Alps and Rocky Mountains in North America. However, in extra-tropical Andean sub-regions such as the Mediterranean Andes of Chile and Argentina (MA; 30º–37º S), the LIA has been poorly documented. Paradoxically, the few climate reconstructions performed in the MA based on lake sediments and tree rings do not show clear evidence of a LIA climate anomaly as observed in the NH. In addition, recent studies have demonstrated temporal differences between mean air temperature variations across the last millennium between both hemispheres. This motivates our hypothesis that the LIA period was not associated with a significant climate perturbation in the MA region. Considering this background, we performed an experiment using daily climatic variables from three Global Climate Models (GCMs) to force a novel glaciological model. In this way, we simulated temporal variations of the glacier equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) to evaluate the glacier response during the period 1500–1848 CE. Overall, each GCM shows temporal changes in annual ELA, with anomalously low elevations during 1640–1670 and 1800–1848 CE. An interval with high ELA values was identified during 1550–1575 CE. The spectral properties of the mean annual ELA in each GCM present significant periodicities between 2–7 years, and also significant decadal to multi-decadal signals. In addition, significant and coherent cycles at interannual to multi-decadal scales were detected between modeled mean annual ELAs and the first EOF1 extracted from Sea Surface Temperature (SST) within the El Niño 3.4 of each GCM. Finally, significant Pearson correlation coefficients were obtained between the mean annual ELA and Pacific SST on interannual to multi-decadal timescales. According to our findings, we propose that Pacific SST variability was the main modulator of temporal changes of the ELA in the MA region of South America during 1500–1848 CE.

Álvaro González-Reyes et al.
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Álvaro González-Reyes et al.
Álvaro González-Reyes et al.
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Short summary
The "Little Ice Age" (LIA), has long been recognized as the last period when mountain glaciers recorded extensive growth intervals. In the Mediterranean Andes (MA; 30º–37º S), the LIA has been poorly documented. Here, we performed an experiment using three GCMs to force a novel glaciological model. We simulated temporal variations of the ELA to evaluate the glacier response. We propose that Pacific SST variability was the main modulator of temporal changes of the ELA in the MA region during LIA.
The "Little Ice Age" (LIA), has long been recognized as the last period when mountain glaciers...
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