Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 322–330

Last interglacial-glacial cycle and an attempt to reconstruct Würmian paleohumidity of the European Alps



A lot of paleoenvironmental surveys have been carried out in the Alpine region to elucidate glacier extension during the Last Glacial or the Würmian (115–12 ka BP). However, the evidence of past glaciations differs greatly between Western and Eastern Alps, while contrast between Southern and Northern Alps is not evident. The main purpose of this paper is to interpret variability of humidity during the last interglacial-glacial cycle in the Alpine region, based on results of various surveys performed in the Alpine region. Results show that distribution of moisture throughout the Alps was most even during the Late Würmian, while precipitation was mainly concentrated in the (North)Western Alps during the Early Würmian and in the (North)Western and along all the Southern Alps during the Middle Würmian. The Eastern Alps were rather dry during both episodes. Such moisture distribution can be explained by paths of prevailing winds. Moisture distribution is directly linked with atmospheric and oceanic circulation.


Alps Würmian glaciers Humidity Paleoclimate Atmospheric circulation 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZUPostojnaSlovenia

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