Glacial lake outburst floods of Patagonia, South America: Size, Timing, Organisation and Impact

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2010
End date: 31/12/2012
Funding: 1400000 SEK


We will reconstruct the evolution of the southern South America glacial lakes and evaluate the impact of associated meltwater on the Southern Hemisphere thermohaline circulation during the last deglaciation. Project objectives will be met through (1) the reconstruction of major meltwater bodies trapped east of the Andes during the Patagonian Ice Sheet retreat, (2) the reconstruction of drainage timing and organisation, and calculations of meltwater volumes and fluxes injected into Pacific Ocean, and (3) paleoceanographical numerical modelling simulations. Meltwater from the Laurentide Ice Sheet and Antarctica are known to have had a profound impact on Late-glacial thermohaline circulation and climate. Recent research on South Pacific proxy data stresses the important relationship between the thermohaline circulation and meltwater released during the deglaciation of the Patagonian icefields. Data including chronologically well constrained meltwater events have the potential to increase our understanding of the role of meltwater in the climatic system. We will combine a variety of methods including remote sensing, DEM analysis, sedimentological field studies, novel dating methods and numerical model simulations of ocean circulation. The proposed project has an interdisciplinary structure, represents a scientific challenge and will promote innovations in a number of fields in geomorphology, glaciology, ice sheet modelling, palaeoclimatology and palaeoceanography.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:58