Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-37
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-37
11 Apr 2019
 | 11 Apr 2019
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal CP. A final paper is not foreseen.

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

Álvaro González-Reyes, Claudio Bravo, Mathias Vuille, Martin Jacques-Coper, Maisa Rojas, Esteban Sagredo, and James McPhee

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.

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Álvaro González-Reyes, Claudio Bravo, Mathias Vuille, Martin Jacques-Coper, Maisa Rojas, Esteban Sagredo, and James McPhee

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Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Álvaro González-Reyes, Claudio Bravo, Mathias Vuille, Martin Jacques-Coper, Maisa Rojas, Esteban Sagredo, and James McPhee
Álvaro González-Reyes, Claudio Bravo, Mathias Vuille, Martin Jacques-Coper, Maisa Rojas, Esteban Sagredo, and James McPhee

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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.