Last Glacial Maximum climatic conditions in the Polish part of the High Tatra Mountains (Western Carpathians)

Michał Makos, Jerzy Nitychoruk


Palaeoclimatic conditions in the Polish part of the High Tatra Mountains during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) were reconstructed based on the former glacial topography with the use of two independent glacier-climate models. The extent of the palaeoglaciers was determined using the glacial-geomorphological record of terminal and lateral moraines as well as trimlines. Two north-faced prominent glaciers were reconstructed (Sucha Woda/Pańszczyca and Biała Woda) with their surface areas as 15.2 and 40.3 km2, respectively. The equilibrium line altitudes (ELA) of these glaciers were determined at the level of 1460 and 1480 m a.s.l. Modelled palaeoclimatic parameters show a mean summer temperature of about 0.3°C and mean annual precipitation of around 580 mm at the equilibrium line altitude of the former glaciers. This means that the summer temperature was lower by 10°C and precipitation was lower by about 60% in relation to the modern conditions. The mean annual temperature was lower by at least 12°C. On the basis of palaeoclimatic data the modern snowline altitude was established at the level of 2450–2550 m a.s.l. This indicates an ELA depression of 1000–1100 metres. Reconstructed climatic parameters at the ELA and ablation gradients indicate that both glaciers were similar to the modern glaciers in Canadian Arctic. Such climatic conditions in Central Europe indicate a cold and dry climate characteristic of the subarctic zone.


Pleistocene, Last Glacial Maximum, High Tatra Mountains, palaeoclimate

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