Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Glaciation of the Blanca Massif, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado, during the Last Glacial Maximum: Implications for Climate

Version 1 : Received: 9 June 2021 / Approved: 11 June 2021 / Online: 11 June 2021 (15:02:15 CEST)

How to cite: Brugger, K.A.; Leonard, E.M.; Refsnider, K.A.; Dolan, P. Glaciation of the Blanca Massif, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado, during the Last Glacial Maximum: Implications for Climate. Preprints 2021, 2021060326 Brugger, K.A.; Leonard, E.M.; Refsnider, K.A.; Dolan, P. Glaciation of the Blanca Massif, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado, during the Last Glacial Maximum: Implications for Climate. Preprints 2021, 2021060326

Abstract

Temperature-index modeling is used to determine the magnitude of temperature depression on the Blanca Massif, Colorado, required to maintain steady-state mass balances of nine reconstructed glaciers at their extent during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The mean temperature depression thus determined is ~8.6 +0.7/–0.9 °C where the uncertainties account for those inherent in the glacier reconstructions, in model parameters (e.g. melt factors), and possible modest changes in LGM precipitation. Associated equilibrium-line altitudes (ELAs) exhibit a statistically significant directional dependency being lower toward the north and east. Under the assumption that regional temperature change was uniform, required changes in precipitation vary systematically – also exhibiting a directional dependency coinciding with that in ELAs – and indicate increases (over modern) occurred on the eastern side of the massif while decreases occurred on the western side. This disparity represents a strengthening of a precipitation asymmetry, particularly winter precipitation, that exists today. The modern precipitation asymmetry may be a consequence of snow being blown over to the eastern side of the massif (advective transport) by southwesterly flow. Intensification of this flow during the LGM would have enhanced advection, and augmented snow accumulation on glaciers, thus explaining the lower ELAs and increased precipitation on that side of the massif.

Subject Areas

Last Glacial Maximum; paleoclimate; temperature-index model; Blanca Massif; Sangre de Cristo Mountains; Colorado

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