Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Climatic warming, glacier recession and runoff from Alpine basins after the Little Ice Age maximum

  • David N. Collins (a1)

Abstract

Records of discharge of rivers draining Alpine basins with between 0 and ~70% ice cover, in the upper Aare and Rhône catchments, Switzerland, for the period 1894–2006 have been examined together with climatic data for 1866–2006, with a view to assessing the effects on runoff from glacierized basins of climatic warming coupled with glacier recession following the Little Ice Age maximum. Annual runoff from ice-free basins reflects precipitation variations, rising from minima between 1880 and 1910 to maxima between the late 1960s and early 1980s. The more highly glacierized the basin, the more runoff mimicked mean May–September air temperature during two periods of warming. Runoff increased gradually from the 1900s, rapidly in the 1940s, before decreasing to the late 1970s. Rising runoff levels during the second warming period failed to exceed those attained during the first, despite higher summer temperatures. Although temperatures continued to rise, discharge from glacierized basins declined after reaching maxima in the late 1980s to early 1990s. In the first warming period, rising specific melt rates augmented by increasing precipitation opposed the impact of declining glacier area on runoff. Although melt continued to increase in the second period, enhanced melting (even in the exceptionally warm summer of 2003) appears to have been insufficient to offset reducing glacier surface area exposed to melt, low or reducing levels of precipitation, and increasing evaporation. Thus runoff from glacierized basins peaked in the late 1940s to early 1950s.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Climatic warming, glacier recession and runoff from Alpine basins after the Little Ice Age maximum
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Climatic warming, glacier recession and runoff from Alpine basins after the Little Ice Age maximum
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Climatic warming, glacier recession and runoff from Alpine basins after the Little Ice Age maximum
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Bader, S. and Bantle, H.. 2004. Das Schweizer Klima im Trend. Temperatur- und Niederschlagsentwicklung 1864–2001. Veröff. MeteoSchweiz 68.
Begert, M., Schlegel, T. and Kirchhofer, W.. 2005. Homogeneous temperature and precipitation series of Switzerland from 1864 to 2000. Int. J. Climatol., 25(1), 65–80.
Beniston, M. 2004. The 2003 heat wave in Europe: a shape of things to come? An analysis based on Swiss climatological data and model simulations. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31(2), L02202. (10.1029/2003GL018857.)
Beniston, M. and Jungo, P.. 2002. Shifts in the distributions of pressure, temperature and moisture and changes in the typical weather patterns in the Alpine region in response to the behavior of the North Atlantic Oscillation. Theor. Appl. Climatol., 71(1–2), 29–42.
Birsan, M.-V., Molnar, P., Burlando, P. and Pfaundler, M.. 2005. Streamflow trends in Switzerland. J. Hydrol., 314(1–4), 312–329.
Bundesamt fü r Umwelt (BAFU). 2006. Hydrologisches Jahrbuch der Schweiz 2004. Bern, Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft. Bundesamt für Umwelt.
Collins, D.N. 1989. Hydrometeorological conditions, mass balance and runoff from alpine glaciers. In Oerlemans, J., ed. Glacier fluctuations and climatic change. Dordrecht, etc., Kluwer Academic Publishers, 235–260.
Collins, D.N. 2006. Climatic variation and runoff in mountain basins with differing proportions of glacier cover. Nord. Hydrol., 37(4–5), 315–326.
Jansson, P., Hock, R. and Schneider, T.. 2003. The concept of glacier storage: a review. J. Hydrol., 282(1–4), 116–129.
Kasser, P. 1967. Fluctuations of glaciers 1959–1965 [Vol. I]. Paris, International Commission of Snow and Ice of the International Association of Scientific Hydrology/UNESCO.
Kasser, P. 1981. Rezente Gletschveränderungen in den Schweizer Alpen, Gletscher und Klima. In Jahrbuch der Schweizerischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft, Wissenschaftlicher Teil, 1978. Basle, Birkhäuser Verlag, 106–138.
Landeshydrologie, Bundesamt für Wasser und Geologie. 1999. Nacheiszeitliche Gletschershwankungen. In Hydrologischer Atlas der Schweiz. Bern, Universität Bern, 3.8.
Maisch, M., Wipf, A., Denneler, B., Battaglia, J. and Benz, C.. 1999. Die Gletscher der Schweizer Alpen: Gletscherstand 1850 – Aktuelle Vergletscherung – Gletscherschwund-Szenarien 21. Jahrhundert. Zürich, vdf Hochschulverlag AG an der ETH. (Schlussbericht NFP 31.)
Vincent, C., Le Meur, E., Six, D. and Funk, M.. 2005. Solving the paradox of the end of the Little Ice Age in the Alps. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32(9), L09706. (10.1029/2005GL022552.)

Climatic warming, glacier recession and runoff from Alpine basins after the Little Ice Age maximum

  • David N. Collins (a1)

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed