Little Ice Age and recent glacier advances in the Cordillera Darwin, Tierra del Fuego, Chile
AbstractPreliminary fieldwork provides evidence for glacier advances in the Cordillera Darwin during the ‘classic’ Little Ice Age as well as in the late 20th and the early 21st centuries. Little Ice Age advances have been reported at nearby sites in the Patagonian Andes, but previous research claimed that glaciers of the Cordillera Darwin did not advance during ‘classic’ Little Ice Age time, but earlier. The present study indicates that glaciers in the Cordillera Darwin likely followed a similar Little Ice Age chronology as most glaciers in the Patagonian Andes. The recent glacier advances of over 1.5 km are supported by previous work. The reason for these advances remains unclear, especially as clear warming trends are observed in southern South America in the 20th and early 21st centuries. However, similarly to glaciers in Norway and New Zealand that also advanced late in the 20th century, the strength of westerly atmospheric circulation has increased in Patagonia, which led to an increase in precipitation likely offsetting the increase in temperature.