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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-129
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-129
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  15 Oct 2020

15 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Dust record in an ice core from tropical Andes (Nevado Illimani – Bolivia), potential for climate variability analyses in the Amazon basin

Filipe Gaudie Ley Lindau1, Jefferson Cardia Simões1,2, Rafael da Rocha Ribeiro1, Patrick Ginot3, Barbara Delmonte4, Giovanni Baccolo4, Stanislav Kutuzov5, Valter Maggi4, and Edson Ramirez6 Filipe Gaudie Ley Lindau et al.
  • 1Centro Polar e Climático, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, 91501-970, Brazil
  • 2Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA
  • 3Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble INP, IGE, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 4Environmental and Earth Sciences Department, University Milano-Bicocca, Milan, 20126, Italy
  • 5Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119017, Russia
  • 6Instituto de Hidráulica e Hidrología, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, La Paz, Bolivia

Abstract. Understanding the mechanisms controlling glacial retreat in the tropical Andes can strengthen future predictions of ice cover in the region. As glaciers are a dominant freshwater source in these regions, accurate ice cover predictions are necessary for developing effective strategies to protect future water resources. In this study, we investigated a 97-year dust record from two Nevado Illimani ice cores to determine the dominant factors controlling particle concentration and size distribution. In addition, we measured the area of a Nevado Illimani glacier (glacier n°8) using aerial photographs from 1956 and 2009. We identified two dustier periods during the 20th century (1930s–1940s and 1980s–2016), which were linked to reduced moisture transport from the Amazon basin. This promoted an unprecedented increase in the percentage of coarse dust particles (CPPn, ∅ > 10 μm) during the 1990s, as drier local conditions favored the emission and deposition of coarse particles on the glacier. Moisture advection from the Amazon basin to Nevado Illimani was influenced by tropical North Atlantic sea surface temperatures (TNA), which was supported by the correlation between TNA and CPPn (r = 0.52). Furthermore, glacial retreat has been accelerating since the 1980s, and a notable relationship between CPPn and the freezing level height (FLH, r = 0.41) was observed. This suggests that higher FLHs promote glacial retreat, which exposes fresh glacial sediments and facilitates the transport of coarse dust particles to the Nevado Illimani summit. Therefore, both the area of glacier n°8 and the ice core record of coarse dust particles were found to respond to climate variability—particularly to the warmer conditions across the southern tropical Andes and drier conditions over the Amazon basin.

Filipe Gaudie Ley Lindau et al.

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Filipe Gaudie Ley Lindau et al.

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Short summary
Glaciers are important freshwater sources in the Tropical Andes. Their retreat has been accelerating since the 1980s. This exposes fresh glacial sediments and facilitates the transport of coarse dust particles to the Nevado Illimani summit. Both the glacial area of Illimani and its ice core record of coarse dust particles respond to warmer conditions across the southern tropical Andes, and drier conditions over the Amazon basin.
Glaciers are important freshwater sources in the Tropical Andes. Their retreat has been...
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