Scientific article

Effects of climate change on mass movements in mountain environments

Published inProgress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment, vol. 36, no. 3, p. 421-439
Publication date2012

Changes in temperature and precipitation have a range of impacts, including change of glacier extent, extent and duration of snow cover, and distribution and thermal properties of permafrost. Similarly, it is likely that climatic changes affect frequency and magnitude of mass movements, such as shallow landslides, debris flows, rock slope failures, or ice avalanches. However, so far changes in mass-movement activity can hardly be detected in observational records. In this progress report we document the role of climate variability and change on mass-movement processes in mountains through the description and analysis of selected, recent mass movements where effects of global warming and the occurrence of heavy precipitation are thought to have contributed to, or triggered, events. In addition, we assess possible effects of future climatic changes on the incidence of mass-movement processes. The report concentrates on high-mountain systems, including processes such as glacier downwasting and the formation of new ice-marginal lakes, glacier debuttressing and the occurrence of rock slope instability, temperature increase and permafrost degradation, as well as on changing sediment reservoirs and sediment supply, with a clear focus on studies from the European Alps.

  • Alps
  • Climate change
  • Glacier
  • Hazard
  • Landslide
  • Mass movement
  • Permafrost
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Citation (ISO format)
STOFFEL, Markus, HUGGEL, Christian. Effects of climate change on mass movements in mountain environments. In: Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment, 2012, vol. 36, n° 3, p. 421–439. doi: 10.1177/0309133312441010
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0309-1333

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