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Reconstructing glacier-climate interactions from the glacial landform record

Speaker: Benjamin Chandler, Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University

Time & place: April 29 at 13h00–14h00, Ahlmann Hall, Geoscience Building.

The majority of glaciers and ice-caps globally are experiencing ice-frontal retreat and mass loss in response to climate warming, and it is predicted that glaciers could almost or entirely disappear in some mountain ranges during this century. To contextualise ongoing glacier retreat and thinning, and to reduce uncertainties in projections of future glacier response to climate change, long-term records of glacier dynamics and glacier-climate interactions are required. However, regular monitoring and measurements of glaciers have only been undertaken since the early to mid-1990s in many areas. This offers only a snapshot of glacier response to climate change. In contrast, glacial landforms provide abundant and widespread evidence of past glacier activity over different timescales and in a variety of settings. These important geological archives can be used to reconstruct glacier-climate interactions and provide benchmark tests for numerical models. This talk will use examples from research in Scotland and Iceland to demonstrate how the distribution and internal sedimentary architecture of glacial landforms can be used to extract information on glacier dynamics and glacier-climate interactions. These examples also reveal the important influence of variations in local boundary conditions (e.g. bedrock topography) on glacier response to climate change. Lastly, this talk will highlight current efforts to develop a multi-method, glacial geological and geophysical approach that can be used to exploit the potential of glacial landforms as glaciological archives.


Flyer for RA3 seminar with image of a glacial landform. photo by Benjamin Chandler

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