Articles | Volume 71, issue 3
Standard article
17 Aug 2016
Standard article |  | 17 Aug 2016

Last Glacial Maximum precipitation pattern in the Alps inferred from glacier modelling

Patrick Becker, Julien Seguinot, Guillaume Jouvet, and Martin Funk

Abstract. During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), glaciers in the Alps reached a maximum extent, and broad sections of the foreland were covered by ice. In this study, we simulated the alpine ice cap using a glacier flow model to constrain the prevailing precipitation pattern with a geomorphological reconstruction of ice extent. For this purpose we forced the model using different temperature cooling and precipitation reduction factors. The use of the present-day precipitation pattern led to a systematic overestimation of the ice cover on the northern part of the Alps relative to the southern part. To reproduce the LGM ice cap, a more severe decrease in precipitation in the north than in the south was required. This result supports a southwesterly advection of atmospheric moisture to the Alps, sustained by a southward shift of the North Atlantic storm track during the LGM.