Impact of climate variability on Alpine glaciers in northwestern Italy

Sandro Calmanti, Luigi Motta, Marco Turco, Antonello Provenzale

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27 Citations (Scopus)


We analyzed glacier snout fluctuation data in Piedmont and Val d'Aosta (Italy) and studied the impact of climate variability on valley glaciers in the western Italian Alps. The study period covered about 70 years in the 20th century; we focused on the last 50 years where a large number of temperature and precipitation time series are available. Superposed onto a general recession trend, we detected strong oscillations on shorter time scales and we showed that they are significantly correlated with fluctuations in winter precipitation rates and average summer temperatures. On the basis of these results, we constructed a simple tagged-linear empirical stochastic model that explained upto 66% of the variance of the snout fluctuation data. The model produces reliable out-of-sample predictions of the impact of climate variability on the glaciers of the western Alps and it can be used to estimate the average response of Alpine glaciers to different scenarios of climate change, provided the morphology of the individual glaciers does not change completely. Copyright © 2007 Royal Meteorological Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2041 - 2053
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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