Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgements xiii

Chapter I Introduction I

1.0 Chapter summary 1

1.1 The significance of environmental change 1

1.2 Glaciers as monitors of environmental change 2

1.3 The study of glaciers and past glacier fluctuations in the context of present and future environmental change 6

Chapter 2 Theories for climate and glacier variations 9

2.0 Chapter summary 9

2.1 The astronomical (Milankovitch) theory of climate variation 9

2.2 Variation in atmospheric gas content and climate change 11

2.3 Volcanic activity and climate variations 13

2.4 Variations in solar output 14

2.5 Geodynamic factors 15

Chapter 3 Methods of palaeoenvironmental reconstruction 17

3.0 Chapter summary 17

3.1 Stable isotope variations in ice cores 17

3.2 Climate records from ice cores 22

3.3 Gas content in ice cores 31

3.4 Microparticles and radioactive tracers in ice cores 35

3.5 Volcanism and climate 37

3.6 Mapping and measuring glacier-front variations 38

3.7 Terminal moraines 39

3.8 Lacustrine sediments 43

3.9 Marine sediments 45

Chapter 4 Glacier dynamics 48

4.0 Chapter summary 48

4.1 Present distribution of glaciers 48

4.2 Glacier types 48

4.3 Temperature distribution in glaciers and ice sheets 53

4.4 Glacier monitoring 56

4.5 Glacier monitoring by satellites 56

4.6 Determination of the equilibrium line altitude (ELA) 57

4.7 Reconstruction of the equilibrium line altitude 58

4.8 Mass balance 61

4.9 Frontal variations 92

4.10 Response time/ time lag 93

4.11 Glacier movement 98

4.12 Supra glacial ice morphology 107

4.13 Glacier hydrology 108

4.14 Calving glaciers 111

4.15 Surging and tidewater glaciers 112

4.16 Reconstruction of ice-surface profiles and calculation of basal shear stress 113

Chapter 5 Glacier variations 116

5.0 Chapter summary 116

5.1 Pre-Quaternary glaciations 116

5.2 Glacial/interglacial cycles during the Quaternary 119

5.3 Late Cenozoic glacier and climate variations 122

5.4 Late-glacial glacier and climate variations in NW Europe 135

5.5 Variations of local glaciers during the last glaciation 137

5.6 Holocene glacier and climate variations 138

5.7 Neoglacial glacier variations 144

5.8 Little Ice Age glacier variations 144

5.9 Glaciers, environmental change and the human race 159

5.10 Models of Late Quaternary climate and ice-sheet evolution 160

Chapter 6 Late Quaternary sea-level changes 162

6.0 Chapter summary 162

6.1 Glacio-eustasy and glacio-isostasy 162

6.2 Relative sea-level changes 164

6.3 Sea ice 168

6.4 Models of future sea-level changes 171

Chapter 7 Models of future climatic change 174

7.0 Chapter summary 174

7.1 Orbitally-induced (Milankovitch) climate change 174

7.2 Greenhouse gas-induced warming 175

7.3 Natural versus anthropogenic forcing 179

7.4 Energy balance models and glacier variations 180

7.5 Global circulation models (GCMs) 180

7.6 Future research priorities 182

References 184

Index 201

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