Articles | Volume 4, issue 4
13 Nov 2008
 | 13 Nov 2008

Reconstructing glacier-based climates of LGM Europe and Russia – Part 1: Numerical modelling and validation methods

R. Allen, M. J. Siegert, and A. J. Payne

Abstract. The mountain environments of mid-latitude Europe and Arctic Russia contain widespread evidence of Late-Quaternary glaciers that have been attributed to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). This glacial-geological record has yet to be used to quantitatively reconstruct the LGM climate of these regions. Here we describe a simple glacier-climate model that can be used to derive regional temperature and precipitation information from a known glacier distribution. The model was tested against the present day distribution of glaciers in Europe. The model is capable of adequately predicting the spatial distribution, snowline and equilibrium line altitude climate of glaciers in the Alps, Scandinavia, Caucasus and Pyrenees Mountains. This verification demonstrated that the model can be used to investigate former climates such as the LGM. Reconstructions of LGM climates from proxy evidence are an important method of assessing retrospective general circulation model (GCM) simulations. LGM palaeoclimate reconstructions from glacial-geological evidence would be of particular benefit to investigations in Europe and Russia, where to date only fossil pollen data have been used to assess continental-scale GCM simulations.