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Cuadernos de Investigación Geográfica / Geographical Research Letters
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.865
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 0211-6820 - ISSN (Online) 1697-9540
Published by Universidad de La Rioja Homepage  [4 journals]
  • The Little Ice Age, the climatic background of present-day warming in

    • Authors: M. Oliva
      Pages: 7 - 13
      Abstract: The Little Ice Age (LIA) constitutes the coldest period of the last millennia in Europe. A wide range of natural and historical records show evidence of colder climate conditions between the 14th and 19th centuries, together with a higher frequency of extreme hydroclimatic events. During these centuries, temperatures and precipitations showed different spatio-temporal patterns across Europe. This Special Issue includes eleven scientific works focusing on the climate regime, environmental dynamics as well as socio-economic implications of the LIA in Europe. Besides, this paper also identifies key guidelines for future research on the LIA causes and its consequences on environmental systems in the European continent.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3402
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • Little Ice Age glaciers and climate in the Mediterranean mountains: a new

    • Authors: P.D. Hughes
      Pages: 15 - 45
      Abstract: Glaciers were common across the Mediterranean mountains during the Little Ice Age. In parts of Turkey some glaciers were several kilometres longer than they are today, whilst in the Pyrenees glaciers were up to several hundred metres longer. In the wettest Mediterranean mountains, such as the Dinaric Alps, many small glaciers and perennial snow patches would have been present. Even in driest and most southerly mountains, such as the High Atlas, small glaciers and perennial snowfields were present. This paper examines the evidence from these two contrasting regions (the western and southern Balkans and the High Atlas) and the climatic significance of glaciers in these areas during the Little Ice Age. Particular focus is given on the climatological controls on glacier mass balance in different climatic conditions. Glaciers in cold and dry climates exhibit different sensitivity to regional climate change compared with glaciers in cold and wet climates. In addition, the factors controlling ablation of glaciers in different climatic regimes can differ considerably, especially the relative contributions and effects of melting and sublimation. All Mediterranean mountain glaciers were strongly controlled by local topoclimatic factors. Avalanche-fed glaciers have proven to be the most resilient to climate change and dramatically increased accumulation from avalanching snow explains the surviving glaciers in the Dinaric Alps and the semi-perennial snow fields of the High Atlas. In addition, geology as well as landscape morphology inherited from Pleistocene glaciations plays a role in explaining the patterns of Little Ice Age glacier distribution and especially the patterns of retreat and survival of these glaciers. The resilience of some of the last remaining Mediterranean glaciers, in the face of warming climate, presents a contradiction and comparisons between glaciers gone and those that remain provides important insight into the future of similar glaciers globally.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3362
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • The Little Ice Age in the Tatra Mountains

    • Authors: S. Kędzia, A. Kotarba
      Pages: 47 - 67
      Abstract: The Little Ice Age (LIA) in the Tatras was characterized by both long and short rainy periods (mostly long cold rainy summers) alternated with warm periods that sometimes were very dry. Definite, precise identification of the onset and ending of the LIA in the Tatras is not possible. Depending on the criteria adopted, the limits of the actual onset and ending vary slightly. During the LIA in the Tatras, there were no fully developed glaciers, and only glacierettes were present. New rock glaciers had not formed while the existing ones did not show any activity. The LIA, in addition to the increased intensity of morphogenic processes, was also reflected in the lives of inhabitants of this part of the Carpathians. For humans the changes were very unfavourable because they were accompanied by a shortened vegetation period and crop yield deficiency that fostered the spread famine and various epidemics.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3350
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • Methodological proposal for the analysis of the evolution of glaciers
           since the Little Ice Age and its application in the Tröllaskagi Peninsula
           (northern Iceland)

    • Authors: J.M. Fernández-Fernández, N. Andrés
      Pages: 69 - 97
      Abstract: In this paper we propose a methodological sequence for the study of glaciers and climate change, and for the use of glaciers as indicators of climatic evolution. Our proposal includes different techniques focused on: mapping glacier extents at different dates, measuring front variations, calculating areas and volumes, analyzing glacier Equilibrium-Line Altitudes (ELA), statistical treatment of climate series, and the application of glacier-climate models that relate temperature and precipitation and enable paleoclimate reconstruction. This methodology was tested by remote monitoring of three highly sensitive debris-free glaciers in the Tröllaskagi peninsula (northern Iceland) since the end of the Little Ice Age (LIA), and the results show an average retreat of 1.3 km as well as a reduction in area and volume of 25% and 33% as a result of the warming that began at the end of the LIA. The application of the glacier-climate models suggests a climate that was up to 49% less humid at the LIA maximum. The bibliographic review of the methods utilized enables us to validate our methodological proposal and the results obtained, and ensures its application in different areas of study.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3392
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • When the weather turned bad. The research of climate impacts on society
           and economy during the Little Ice Age in Europe. An overview

    • Authors: Ch. Camenisch, Ch. Rohr
      Pages: 99 - 114
      Abstract: This paper focusses on historical climate impact research, one of the branches of historical climatology with an emphasis on the Little Ice Age. It provides examples of the theoretical concepts, models, and further structuring considerations that are used in historical climate impact research, which are especially fitting to the examined period. We distinguish between the impact of climate on society by time-scale in long-term, conjunctural or medium-term, and short-term impacts. Moreover, a simplified climate-society interaction model developed by Daniel Krämer is presented, as well as the concept of the Little Ice Age-type Impact (LIATIMP) by Christian Pfister and the vulnerability concept regarding climatic variability and extreme weather events. Furthermore, the paper includes a state-of-the-art application of the historical climate impact research and discussion of research gaps.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3395
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • Little Ice Age glacier history of the Central and Western Alps from
           pictorial documents

    • Authors: H.J. Zumbühl, S.U. Nussbaumer
      Pages: 115 - 136
      Abstract: The Lower Grindelwald Glacier (Bernese Oberland, Switzerland) consists of two parts, the Ischmeer in the east (disconnected) and the Bernese Fiescher Glacier in the west. During the Little Ice Age (LIA), the glacier terminated either in the area of the “Schopffelsen” (landmark rock terraces) or advanced at least six times (ten times if we include early findings) even further down into the valley bottom forming the “Schweif” (tail). Maximal ice extensions were reached in 1602 and 1855/56 AD. The years after the end of the LIA have been dominated by a dramatic melting of ice, especially after 2000. The Mer de Glace (Mont Blanc area, France) is a compound valley glacier formed by the tributaries Glacier du Tacul, Glacier de Léschaux, and Glacier de Talèfre (disconnected). During the LIA, the Mer de Glace nearly continuously reached the plain in the Chamonix Valley (maximal extensions in 1644 and 1821 AD). The retreat, beginning in the mid-1850s, was followed by a relatively stable position of the front (1880s until 1930s). Afterwards the retreat has continued until today, especially impressive after 1995. The perception of glaciers in the early times was dominated by fear. In the age of Enlightenment and later in the 19th century, it changed to fascination. In the 20th century, glaciers became a top attraction of the Alps, but today they are disappearing from sight. With a huge number of high-quality pictorial documents, it is possible to reconstruct the LIA history of many glaciers in the European Alps from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Thanks to these pictures, we get an image of the beauty and fascination of LIA glaciers, ending down in the valleys. The pictorial documents (drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, and maps) of important artists (Caspar Wolf, Jean-Antoine Linck, Samuel Birmann) promoted a rapidly growing tourism. Compared with today’s situations, it gives totally different landscapes – a comparison of LIA images with the same views of today is probably the best visual proof for the changes in climate.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3363
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • Intemperate weather in violent times – narratives from the Western
           Balkans during the Little Ice Age (17-18th centuries)

    • Authors: J. Mrgic
      Pages: 137 - 169
      Abstract: The paper aims to present narrative sources from the late phase of ‘Little Ice Age’ period for a part of the Southeastern Europe, which is still poorly investigated. In the lack of solid evidence, obtained by geo-sciences (dendrochronology, sediment and pollen analysis, records of instrumental measurements, etc.), the text relies on documentary ‘proxies’ derived from several chronicles and short notes. These accounts – from Dalmatian cities of Split and Makarska, Ottoman metropolis of Sarajevo, Franciscan monasteries in Kreševo (Bosnia) and in Šarengrad (Srem, after Habsburg re-conquest) – are unevenly distributed in time and geographical space, far from the quality of ‘weather diaries’, which existed elsewhere in Europe of this period. Nonetheless, the preserved sources verify in their own manner cumulative changes occurring throughout the region: people observed changes not only in high frequency of change of seasonal temperature and precipitation patterns and the scale, but more significantly, there was coupling of extreme weather events and heavy disturbances of weather patterns. Franciscan writers in Makarska and Kreševo repeatedly wrote how weather features and course of seasons were untimely, unexpected, sudden and detrimental, ‘suis temporibus non correspondens’, and how particular agricultural works could not be performed ‘ut moris est’, at the usual, traditional schedule, due to the weather perturbances. Adriatic summers turned extremely hot and dry, with long periods without any rain, while data from Šarengrad corroborate results obtain in the historical climatology for Hungary on the severity of winters and long period of frozen Danube River. Mulla Basheski’s records from Sarajevo yield information on Miljacka River flood events, in connection to both climate condition and land-use patterns. This paper is foremost an attempt to draw attention to research possibilities for the Western Balkans, and there are more documentary, narrative and archival sources to be further investigated, with collaborations among geoscientists and historians.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3380
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • The geomorphological role of snow since the Little Ice Age in the Sierra
           de Ancares (NW Spain)

    • Authors: P. Carrera-Gómez, M. Valcárcel
      Pages: 171 - 185
      Abstract: On the Pico Cuiña cirque, Sierra de Ancares (León, Spain), the seasonal snow cover undergoes both slow and rapid mass displacements. Push associated with moving snow is responsible for an intense geomorphological activity, which is characterised by the plucking and transport of fragments of the bedrock, the abrasion of rock surfaces and the deposition of the mobilized material. Pronival ramparts are the most characteristic accumulation geoform created by pushing snow. Its study enabled us to verify the functionality of the nival processes and to prove the relative antiquity of some of them. The use of lichenometric techniques, based on the prior construction of a growth curve for lichens of the Rhizocarpon subgenus, has made possible to date sectors of the pronival ramparts. Lichenometric dates show a series of events of geomorphic activity of the snow cover fitting chronologically within the so-called Little Ice Age. It can be deduced from the observation of the current geomorphic dynamics of the snow cover that, although Little Ice Age temperature decrease might be important, particularly in the summer, the role of the variations in snow precipitation must be also taken into consideration.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3379
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • An extreme event between The Little Ice Age and the 20th century: the snow
           avalanche cycle of 1888 in the Asturian Massif (Northern Spain)

    • Authors: C. García-Hernández, J. Ruiz-Fernández, C. Sánchez-Posada, S. Pereira, M. Oliva
      Pages: 187 - 212
      Abstract: Between the late Little Ice Age (LIA) cold stage and the early 20th century warmer scenario, a transitional regime characterized by an unstable climatic pattern generated a series of climate extremes affecting mid-latitude mountainous areas, as the Asturian Massif. There, the 1888 snow avalanche cycle appears as the most significant event, standing out among the rest of avalanche cycles recorded in this area during the 1800-2015 period both in terms of the number of damaging avalanches and damages caused by them. Among the factors that explain this event stands out the orographic precipitation phenomenon; the interaction of a cold and wet air mass originating from the North Atlantic with the relief of the Massif, which led to extraordinary snow thicknesses (>2 m) at very low altitudes (500 m a.s.l.), especially in the north-facing, Asturian versant of the Cantabrian Mountains. This allowed the triggering of avalanches in slopes gentler and in lower altitudes than usual, covering longer distances; consequently, avalanches reached more easily the settlements, generally placed at the bottom of the valley or in middle slope positions. The greater impact on the settlements, which suffered 84% of the damages, was the cause of this episode’s high socioeconomic impact (29 people dead, 34 injured, 123 heads of cattle dead, 124 buildings destroyed). These events occurred at a time when the mountain villages were highly populated and subjected to intense exploitation, coinciding with the development of new communication infrastructures in the upper parts of the Massif. Therefore, the 1888 episode constitutes a good example of both the impact of hydrometeorological events in mountain environments under high demographic pressure, and of climate extremes involved in a transition period from cold to warmer weather conditions.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3386
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • Surge glaciers during the Little Ice Age in the Pyrenees

    • Authors: E. Serrano, R. Martín-Moreno
      Pages: 213 - 244
      Abstract: Historical moraine complexes and erosional features are interesting elements to discern the historical climate changes and evolution, with a complex chronologies that help us to understand the dynamics and glacier evolution during the Little Ice Age (LIA). The existence of landforms as crevasses-squeeze ridges, hummocky moraines and flutes, related to different glacier advances and retreats, allows understanding in a better way the LIA glacier evolution in the Pyrenees. The aim of this work is to show how many LIA moraine complexes have traces of fast flow ice; when the surge dynamic happened; his extent and the environmental meaning. Based on glacier landsystem analysis we have established a work hypothesis on the fast flow or surge dynamic glaciers during the LIA, with geomorphological features, as flutes and push and hummocky moraines, at least in 17 LIA glacier complexes. The analysis of morphosquences by fieldwork, photo interpretation and historical sources in 8 selected LIA moraine complexes have been compared with previous climatic reconstructions creating a hypothesis about the response of the LIA glaciers to the short time changes in temperature and moisture.The glacier cirques with fast flow features are found in the highest mountains with summits above 3000 m., mainly northern oriented (88%) and without a significant lithology. The studied complexes (Central Infierno, Eastern Infierno, Oulettes de Gaube, Monte Perdido, Marboré, La Paúl, Literola and Tempestades) show 4 morphological units: a frontal moraine system (U1); a more voluminous moraine (U2); a little push and hummocky moraines complex linking with flutes (U3); and minor arcs up valley (U4). The U3 belongs to a fast flow stage or surging and by morphostratigraphy we can point out that the surge processes were produced between 1820 and 1840, at the end of the LIA. We related it with a possible climatic response to sudden cooling and the increase of winter precipitation with melt-water availability and quick ice melting during the summer, generating hydrodynamic changes in the small glaciers and quick dynamic response.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3399
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • A review of the Little Ice Age in Andalusia (Southern Spain): results and
           research challenges

    • Authors: F.S. Rodrigo
      Pages: 245 - 265
      Abstract: Andalusia (southern Spain) is a region of special climatic interest due to its geographical location, hydrological and orographical characteristics. In this work a summary of different approaches to study the Little Ice Age in this region is presented. From different proxy data (lake and marine sediments, geomorphological evidences, tree-rings, documentary data), it is possible to obtain the main characteristics of this climatic episode, with predominance of colder and wetter conditions than today and great variability. However, some uncertainties persist, related to the chronological limits of the LIA in the region, the variability of thermal and rainfall conditions, and different time resolution of various proxy data analysed. These problems are discussed and future research challenges are proposed.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3316
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • The geographical interest of historical documents to interpret the
           scientific evolution of the glacier existing in the Veleta cirque (Sierra
           Nevada, Spain) during the Little Ice Age

    • Authors: A. Gómez-Ortiz, M. Oliva, F. Salvador-Franch, M. Salvà-Catarineu, J. Plana-Castellví
      Pages: 267 - 292
      Abstract: Historical documents have shown their potential to infer the origin and evolution of the glacier existing in the Veleta cirque, in the massif of Sierra Nevada (Spain). This information encompasses written sources spanning from the 17th to the mid-20th centuries, and provides valuable knowledge about the Little Ice Age. These new data complement the already existing geomorphological knowledge about the natural system and landscape evolution in Sierra Nevada, particularly with regards to glacial geomorphic events in the summit areas. From a transdisciplinary methodological approach, the results show that the Veleta glacier was a singular geomorphic event that owed its existence to the particular environmental conditions of the high lands of Sierra Nevada, besides the favourable morpho-topographical setting, altitude, aspect as well as microclimate conditions prevailing in this area.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3415
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • A new method for analysing and representing ground temperature variations
           in cold environments. The Fuegian Andes, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

    • Authors: M. Oliveira, A. Pérez-Alberti, R.M. Crujeiras, A. Rodríguez-Casal, F. Castillo-Rodríguez
      Pages: 293 - 320
      Abstract: The thermal response of soils in cold environments has been investigated in numerous studies. The data considered here were obtained in a study carried out in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, as part of the IV International Polar Year. Temperature sensors were installed at ground level (0) and depths of -10, -20 and -60 cm in the study area, with the aim of characterizing the thermal response by detecting diurnal and annual variations.The study has two main aims. The first is to present and discuss the study findings regarding the thermal response of a soil in a sub-Antarctic environment by using classical descriptive analysis. The second, closely related, aim is to apply some novel statistical tools that would help improve this description. The study of freeze-thaw patterns can be approached from a non-parametric perspective, while taking into account the cyclical nature of the data. Data are considered cyclical when they can be represented on a unit circle, as with the hours in which certain events occur throughout a day (e.g. freezing and thawing). Analysis of this type of data is very different from the analysis of scalar data, as regards both descriptive and graphical measures. The application in this study of methods used to represent and analyse cyclical data improved visualization of the data and interpretation of the analytical findings. The main contribution of the present study is the use of estimators of the nuclear type density and derived techniques, such as the CircSiZer map, which enabled identification of significant freeze-thaw patterns. In addition, the relationships between the temperature recordings at different points were analysed using Taylor diagrams.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3373
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • Holocene alluvial sequence in the Val de Zaragoza (Los Monegros) in the
           palaeoenvironmental context of the Ebro Basin (NE Spain)

    • Authors: J.L. Peña-Monné, M.M. Sampietro-Vattuone, L.A. Longares-Aladrén, F. Pérez-Lambán, M. Sánchez-Fabre, M. Alcolea-Gracia, L. Vallés, M.T. Echeverria-Arnedo, C. Baraza
      Pages: 321 - 348
      Abstract: Flat-bottomed valleys formed by Holocene fills are the most characteristic landforms in the center of the Ebro basin. This paper analyzes, within a regional framework, a small fluvial basin located in the north of the Alcubierre Range. Three Holocene morphosedimentary units (H1-H3) and a sub-functional level (H4) are identified. These units are representative of the regional geomorphological evolutionary process in the Ebro basin. New chronological insights on climate and landscape management are provided by a study of the Bastarás weir, a construction made for water flow management during the Little Ice Age (LIA). The integration of Val de Zaragoza radiocarbon datings into the regional framework enables the authors to identify the main formation stages, as well as the influence of climatic and human factors on its evolution. The intensification of human pressure in the territory is reflected in a progressive increase in sediment accumulation rates in the valleys, peaking during Roman times and the Little Ice Age.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3358
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
  • Consensus on human driving factors of climate change has not been
           demonstrated yet

    • Authors: J.C. González-Hidalgo
      Pages: 349 - 375
      Abstract: During the last three decades two new paradigms have emerged. The first one in the called “Climate Change”, and the second, that could be named scientific-social paradigm, and referred to the previous, is the consensus that climate change has been produced by human emissions.In this paper, after a brief presentation of the first paradigm following the main conclusions of IPCC, the author reviews the main documents from which the second one has been stated. It is not the aim of this paper to argue or discuss the climate change and its attribution, but how the consensus has been achieved, because the consensus on the attribution of climate change is apparent, since it cannot be concluded from the aforementioned text.The review of the most well-known and quoted papers in scientific, political, cultural, and mass media, shows that 97% magnitude of consensus is not related to the original data, it has been calculated from partial slanted and biased information, and is referred to the opinion of a small number of people. With caution, the most real agreement from the data published until present should be approximately 50%.Temperature has risen from the beginning of surface observations, but there is not necessary any consensus to support this empirical fact. Meanwhile, to attribute that greenhouse gases emission is the most relevant factor based on majority or authority principles is not scientifically correct, because no one polling has been proof of true.
      PubDate: 2018-02-20
      DOI: 10.18172/cig.3368
      Issue No: Vol. 44, No. 1 (2018)
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