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Supplements of Geografia Fisica e Dinamica Quaternaria
Volume VII - 2005

 

Proceedings of the Conferences “Mountains and Plains”

HAEBERLI W.

Climate change and glacial/periglacial geomorphodynamics in the Alps: a challenge of historical dimensions – Cambiamenti climatici e geomorfodinamica glaciale/periglaciale nelle Alpi: una sfida di dimensioni storiche

Pages 9-14

Abstract

In the Alps , there is a long tradition of scientific research on glaciers and on landscapes formed by perennial surface ice. Investigation of problems connected to high-mountain permafrost is much newer. The interest in both, however, has risen considerably during recent years. This is primarily due to their close relationship with climate change . Glaciers and permafrost do indeed react sensitively to changes in atmospheric temperature because of their proximity to the melting point. As a consequence, climatic changes during the 20 th century have caused pronounced effects in the glacial and periglacial belts of mountain areas. Fast if not accelerating changes in ice conditions of cold mountain areas now increasingly influence the appearance and perception of alpine landscapes, the seasonal – ity of melt-water runoff, the intensity of erosion and sedimentation, the stability of high-altitude slopes and the general hazard situation. To anticipate and mitigate such consequences of climate change represents a challenge of historical dimensions to the fields of glacial and periglacial geomorphology.

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