Holocene glacier culminations in the Western Alps and their hemispheric relevance
I. Schimmelpfennig et al., Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York 10964, USA. Posted online 1 August 2012; doi: 10.1130/G33169.1.
Human civilization developed during the balmy climate of the Holocene, over the last ~11,700 years. Emerging research on Holocene climate is showing that temperature swings were more common than previously thought and that climate changes happened on a broad, hemispheric scale. In this study, I. Schimmelpfennig and colleagues use high-precision beryllium-10 dating of moraines to show that Switzerland's Tsidjiore Nouve Glacier (Western Alps) advanced to its largest Holocene extents during at least three cold spells: (1) during the earliest Holocene around 11,400 years ago; (2) during the period between 3,800 to 3,200 years ago; and (3) during the well-documented Little Ice Age between AD 1300 and AD 1850. The glacier advance of the earliest Holocene is coeval with a cold-event recorded in Greenland ice cores, dubbed the "Preboreal Oscillation." The two latter cold spells in the Alps were coeval to dry spells in the tropical Atlantic, as the rain belt that circles Earth's equator pushed south. These findings suggest a Holocene climate link between temperature in the Alps and the polar North Atlantic and tropical precipitation patterns, adding new insights in far-field teleconnections of the climate system during our ongoing warm period.
Global patterns of loss of life from landslides
David Petley, International Landslide Centre, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK. Posted online 1 August 2012; doi: 10.1130.G33217.1.
Landslides are a threat in many environments around the world, causing loss of life, damage to property, and disruption to communications networks. In the recent (2008) Wenchuan earthquake in China, more than 100,000 landslides were t
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