A System for Assessing the Past, Present and Future of Glacial Resources

  • Marta ChiarleEmail author
  • Guido Nigrelli
  • Antonello Provenzale
Conference paper


The cryosphere is especially sensitive to the fluctuations of climatic parameters, and specifically to ongoing global warming. Mountain glaciers, in particular, are good indicators of climatic trends, as they have response times to climate forcing which are intermediate between snow (which responds mainly to short-term climate forcing) and permafrost/ground ice, whose response is delayed in time and conditioned by a complex ensemble of factors. When studying glacier response to climate change, the main objectives are: (i) understand the terrestrial, local impacts of global climatic changes, (ii) develop scenarios of the future evolution of glaciated areas, according to the available global climatic projections. This two objectives have both scientific and applied merits. The latter are related to the importance of glaciers in the water cycle, in sediment fluxes, and as a source of natural hazards. The combination of historical and geomorphological information with numerical models of climate systems and glacier response to climate forcing is one of the most robust approaches to address the study of glacier evolution in response to climate fluctuations and change. In order to be promptly available for use, historical and geomorphological data (including climatic ones) need to be properly organized in information management systems, which guarantee the preservation and standardization of data, along with their easy processing and retrieval. The present contribution aims at illustrating the experience gained through the application of this multidisciplinary approach to glaciers of the western Italian Alps.


Glaciers Climate change Italian Alps 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Chiarle
    • 1
    Email author
  • Guido Nigrelli
    • 1
  • Antonello Provenzale
    • 2
  1. 1.Consiglio Nazionale delle RicercheIstituto di Ricerca per la Protezione Idrogeologica, GeoClimAlp Research GroupTurinItaly
  2. 2.Consiglio Nazionale delle RicercheIstituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del ClimaTurinItaly

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