Glacial extent and mass-balance are sensitive climate proxies providing solid information on past climatic conditions. However, series of annual mass balance measurements of more than sixty years are scarce. To our knowledge, this is the first time the latewood density data (MXD) of the Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra L.) has been used to reconstruct the summer mass balance (Bs) of an Alpine glacier. The MXD-based Bs well correlates with a Bs reconstruction based on the May to September temperature. Winter precipitation has been used as independent proxy to infer the winter mass balance and to obtain an annual mass balance (Bn) estimate dating back to the glaciological year 1811/12. The reconstructed MXD/precipitation-based Bn well correlates with the data both of the Careser and of other Alpine glaciers measured by the glaciological method. A number of critical issues should be considered in both proxies including nonlinear response of glacial mass balance to temperature, bedrock topography, ice thinning and fragmentation, MXD acquisition and standardization methods, and finally the “divergence problem” responsible for the recent reduced dendroglaciological reconstructions using this stable and reliable proxy.

Pinus cembra L. tree-ring data as a proxy for summer mass-balance variability of the Careser Glacier (Italian Rhaetian Alps)

Riccardo Cerrato
Primo
;
Maria Cristina Salvatore
Secondo
;
Carlo Baroni
Ultimo
Supervision
2020-01-01

Abstract

Glacial extent and mass-balance are sensitive climate proxies providing solid information on past climatic conditions. However, series of annual mass balance measurements of more than sixty years are scarce. To our knowledge, this is the first time the latewood density data (MXD) of the Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra L.) has been used to reconstruct the summer mass balance (Bs) of an Alpine glacier. The MXD-based Bs well correlates with a Bs reconstruction based on the May to September temperature. Winter precipitation has been used as independent proxy to infer the winter mass balance and to obtain an annual mass balance (Bn) estimate dating back to the glaciological year 1811/12. The reconstructed MXD/precipitation-based Bn well correlates with the data both of the Careser and of other Alpine glaciers measured by the glaciological method. A number of critical issues should be considered in both proxies including nonlinear response of glacial mass balance to temperature, bedrock topography, ice thinning and fragmentation, MXD acquisition and standardization methods, and finally the “divergence problem” responsible for the recent reduced dendroglaciological reconstructions using this stable and reliable proxy.
2020
Cerrato, Riccardo; Salvatore, MARIA CRISTINA; Gunnarson, Björn E.; Linderholm, Hans W.; Carturan, Luca; Brunetti, Michele; Baroni, Carlo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1041409
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