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Rockfalls triggered from a rock-glacier front as a mirror of multi-centennial permafrost dynamics in the Alps?
Presented by Prof. Markus STOFFEL on 15 May 2013 from 18:00 to 21:00
Type: Poster Presentation
Session: Poster Session + Reception
Board #: 62
Trees are excellent recorders of rockfall activity in terms of their spatio-temporal activity and possible changes thereof. Rockfall depends, among others, on freeze-thaw cycles and the melting of winter ice in clefts. Its temporal frequency and magnitude will likely be altered at higher elevations due to on-going climatic changes. Here we focus on rockfalls triggered from a rock glacier in the Swiss Alps located above a steep cliff. It is anticipated that changes in rock glacier movement will affect rockfall rates and in turn the frequency of impacts in trees growing below the cliff. Based on 400 time series of century-old Larix decidua Mill., we demonstrate that rockfall activity – and therefore rock glacier movements – have been altered significantly between the end of the Little Ice Age and today, and that such changes can be considered reflective of changing climatic conditions in general and of recent temperature increase in particular.