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Effects of climate change on mass movements in mountain environments


Stoffel, Markus; Huggel, Christian (2012). Effects of climate change on mass movements in mountain environments. Progress in Physical Geography, 36(3):421-439.

Abstract

Changes in temperature and precipitation have a range of impacts, including change of glacier extent, extent and duration of snow cover, and distribution and thermal properties of permafrost. Similarly, it is likely that climatic changes affect frequency and magnitude of mass movements, such as shallow landslides, debris flows, rock slope failures, or ice avalanches. However, so far changes in mass-movement activity can hardly be detected in observational records. In this progress report we document the role of climate variability and change on mass-movement processes in mountains through the description and analysis of selected, recent mass movements where effects of global warming and the occurrence of heavy precipitation are thought to have contributed to, or triggered, events. In addition, we assess possible effects of future climatic changes on the incidence of mass-movement processes. The report concentrates on high-mountain systems, including processes such as glacier downwasting and the formation of new ice-marginal lakes, glacier debuttressing and the occurrence of rock slope instability, temperature increase and permafrost degradation, as well as on changing sediment reservoirs and sediment supply, with a clear focus on studies from the European Alps.

Abstract

Changes in temperature and precipitation have a range of impacts, including change of glacier extent, extent and duration of snow cover, and distribution and thermal properties of permafrost. Similarly, it is likely that climatic changes affect frequency and magnitude of mass movements, such as shallow landslides, debris flows, rock slope failures, or ice avalanches. However, so far changes in mass-movement activity can hardly be detected in observational records. In this progress report we document the role of climate variability and change on mass-movement processes in mountains through the description and analysis of selected, recent mass movements where effects of global warming and the occurrence of heavy precipitation are thought to have contributed to, or triggered, events. In addition, we assess possible effects of future climatic changes on the incidence of mass-movement processes. The report concentrates on high-mountain systems, including processes such as glacier downwasting and the formation of new ice-marginal lakes, glacier debuttressing and the occurrence of rock slope instability, temperature increase and permafrost degradation, as well as on changing sediment reservoirs and sediment supply, with a clear focus on studies from the European Alps.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:28 Dec 2012 10:25
Last Modified:23 Sep 2018 05:28
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:0309-1333
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0309133312441010

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