CORDIS - EU research results
CORDIS

High Asian Icy Landscapes during warm interstadials (HAIL): coupling between monsoon intensity and past glacier culminations?

Project description

Untangling the complex interplay between different atmospheric drivers on High-Mountain Asia

The cryosphere of High-Mountain Asia (HMA) is extremely sensitive to shifts in air temperature and precipitation, with its glaciers and icecaps responding to the present warming and to fluctuating prevailing atmospheric circulation systems. One such system, the Asian monsoon, is a seasonal change in wind direction, which allows moist air from the Indian and Pacific oceans to precipitate at high elevations of HMA, feeding the cryosphere. The EU-funded HAIL project will untangle the complex interplay between different atmospheric drivers and documented glacier culminations during the past 60 000 years, focusing on an enigmatic behaviour of HMA glaciers during warm interstadial intervals. Decoupling global from regional climate drivers is important if we are to understand past changes in glaciers or predict their future fate.

Objective

The cryosphere of High-Mountain Asia (HMA) is extremely sensitive to shifts in air temperature and precipitation, with its glaciers and ice caps not only responding to the present warming but also to changes in the intensity of prevailing atmospheric circulation systems. One such system–the Asian monsoon–is a seasonal change in wind direction, which allows moist air from the Indian and Pacific oceans to precipitate at high elevations of HMA, feeding the cryosphere. Decoupling global from regional climate drivers is important, if we are to understand past changes in glaciers or predict their future fate. HAIL’s primary aim is to untangle the complex interplay between different atmospheric drivers and documented glacier culminations during the past 60 thousand years, zooming in on an enigmatic behaviour of HMA glaciers during warm interstadial intervals. A counterintuitive glacier growth during these warm intervals appears out-of-phase with diminishing and disappearing ice masses elsewhere on Earth but correlates well with increases in monsoon intensity. Until now, a lack of robust evidence on glacier culminations, as well as absence of a framework for assessing their paleoclimatic significance have merely fuelled speculations. HAIL combines a comprehensive compilation of constraints on past glacier geometries and paleoclimate proxy data with paleoclimate and advanced numerical glacier models to test the hypothesis that regional glacier culminations during globally warm periods of the last glacial cycle were driven by variations in the monsoon intensity. Through this action, the researcher will not only extend his strong expertise in glacial geomorphology and geochronology into the realm of numerical data interpretation but will also transfer paleo-data skills and considerable pedagogical training to the host. Riding on the host’s cutting-edge education methods, HAIL will test and develop its outreach strategy for students and the general public.

Coordinator

NORGES TEKNISK-NATURVITENSKAPELIGE UNIVERSITET NTNU
Net EU contribution
€ 202 158,72
Address
HOGSKOLERINGEN 1
7491 Trondheim
Norway

See on map

Region
Norge Trøndelag Trøndelag
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 202 158,72