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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Kääb, Andreas; Jacquemart, Mylène; Gilbert, Adrien; Leinss, Silvan; +11 Authors

    The detachment of large parts of low-angle mountain glaciers resulting in massive ice–rock avalanches have so far been believed to be a unique type of event, made known to the global scientific community first for the 2002 Kolka Glacier detachment, Caucasus Mountains, and then for the 2016 collapses of two glaciers in the Aru range, Tibet. Since 2016, several so-far unrecognized low-angle glacier detachments have been recognized and described, and new ones have occurred. In the current contribution, we compile, compare, and discuss 20 actual or suspected large-volume detachments of low-angle mountain glaciers at 10 different sites in the Caucasus, the Pamirs, Tibet, Altai, the North American Cordillera, and the Southern Andes. Many of the detachments reached volumes in the order of 10–100 million m3. The similarities and differences between the presented cases indicate that glacier detachments often involve a coincidental combination of factors related to the lowering of basal friction, high or increasing driving stresses, concentration of shear stress, or low resistance to exceed stability thresholds. Particularly soft glacier beds seem to be a common condition among the observed events as they offer smooth contact areas between the glacier and the underlying substrate and are prone to till-strength weakening and eventually basal failure under high pore-water pressure. Partially or fully thawed glacier bed conditions and the presence of liquid water could thus play an important role in the detachments. Surface slopes of the detached glaciers range between around 10∘ and 20∘. This may be low enough to enable the development of thick and thus large-volume glaciers while also being steep enough to allow critical driving stresses to build up. We construct a simple slab model to estimate ranges of glacier slope and width above which a glacier may be able to detach when extensively losing basal resistance. From this model we estimate that all the detachments described in this study occurred due to a basal shear stress reduction of more than 50 %. Most of the ice–rock avalanches resulting from the detachments in this study have a particularly low angle of reach, down to around 5∘, likely due to their high ice content and connected liquefaction potential, the availability of soft basal slurries, and large amounts of basal water, as well as the smooth topographic setting typical for glacial valleys. Low-angle glacier detachments combine elements and likely also physical processes of glacier surges and ice break-offs from steep glaciers. The surge-like temporal evolution ahead of several detachments and their geographic proximity to other surge-type glaciers indicate the glacier detachments investigated can be interpreted as endmembers of the continuum of surge-like glacier instabilities. Though rare, glacier detachments appear to be more frequent than commonly thought and disclose, despite local differences in conditions and precursory evolutions, the fundamental and critical potential of low-angle soft glacier beds to fail catastrophically.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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    Authors: Fernández, Alfonso; Muñoz, Ariel; González-Reyes, Álvaro; Aguilera-Betti, Isabella; +8 Authors

    Streamflow in south-central Chile (SCC, ∼ 37–42∘ S) is vital for agriculture, forestry production, hydroelectricity, and human consumption. Recent drought episodes have generated hydrological deficits with damaging effects on these activities. This region is projected to undergo major reductions in water availability, concomitant with projected increases in water demand. However, the lack of long-term records hampers the development of accurate estimations of natural variability and trends. In order to provide more information on long-term streamflow variability and trends in SCC, here we report findings of an analysis of instrumental records and a tree-ring reconstruction of the summer streamflow of the Río Imperial (∼ 37∘ 40′ S–38∘ 50′ S). This is the first reconstruction in Chile targeted at this season. Results from the instrumental streamflow record (∼ 1940 onwards) indicated that the hydrological regime is fundamentally pluvial with a small snowmelt contribution during spring, and evidenced a decreasing trend, both for the summer and the full annual record. The reconstruction showed that streamflow below the average characterized the post-1980 period, with more frequent, but not more intense, drought episodes. We additionally found that the recent positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode has significantly influenced streamflow. These findings agree with previous studies, suggesting a robust regional signal and a shift to a new hydrological scenario. In this paper, we also discuss implications of these results for water managers and stakeholders; we provide rationale and examples that support the need for the incorporation of tree-ring reconstructions into water resources management.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Hydrology and Earth ...arrow_drop_down
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    Authors: Koseki, Shunya; Giordani, Hervé; Goubanova, Katerina;

    A diagnostic analysis of the climatological annual mean and seasonal cycle of the Angola–Benguela Frontal Zone (ABFZ) is performed by applying an ocean frontogenetic function (OFGF) to the ocean mixing layer (OML). The OFGF reveals that the meridional confluence and vertical tilting terms are the most dominant contributors to the frontogenesis of the ABFZ. The ABFZ shows a well-pronounced semiannual cycle with two maximum (minimum) peaks in April–May and November–December (February–March and July–August). The development of the two maxima of frontogenesis is due to two different physical processes: enhanced tilting from March to April and meridional confluence from September to October. The strong meridional confluence in September to October is closely related to the seasonal southward intrusion of tropical warm water to the ABFZ that seems to be associated with the development of the Angola Dome northwest of the ABFZ. The strong tilting effect from March to April is attributed to the meridional gradient of vertical velocities, whose effect is amplified in this period due to increasing stratification and shallow OML depth. The proposed OFGF can be viewed as a tool to diagnose the performance of coupled general circulation models (CGCMs) that generally fail at realistically simulating the position of the ABFZ, which leading to huge warm biases in the southeastern Atlantic.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Ocean Science (OS)arrow_drop_down
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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Auger, Pierre-Amaël; Gorgues, Thomas; Machu, Eric; Aumont, Olivier; +1 Authors

    A comparative box analysis based on a multi-decadal physical–biogeochemical hindcast simulation (1980–2009) was conducted to characterize the drivers of the spatial distribution of phytoplankton biomass and production in the north-west (NW) African upwelling system. Alongshore geostrophic flow related to large-scale circulation patterns associated with the influence of coastal topography is suggested to modulate the coastal divergence, and then the response of nutrient upwelling to wind forcing. In our simulation, this translates into a coastal upwelling of nitrate being significant in all regions but the Cape Blanc (CB) area. However, upwelling is found to be the dominant supplier of nitrate only in the northern Saharan Bank (NSB) and the Senegalo-Mauritanian (SM) regions. Elsewhere, nitrate supply is dominated by meridional advection, especially off Cape Blanc. Phytoplankton displays a similar behaviour with a supply by lateral advection which equals the net coastal phytoplankton growth in all coastal regions except the Senegalo-Mauritanian area. Noticeably, in the Cape Blanc area, the net coastal phytoplankton growth is mostly sustained by high levels of regenerated production exceeding new production by more than twofold, which is in agreement with the locally weak input of nitrate by coastal upwelling. Further offshore, the distribution of nutrients and phytoplankton is explained by the coastal circulation. Indeed, in the northern part of our domain (i.e. Saharan Bank), the coastal circulation is mainly alongshore, resulting in low offshore lateral advection of nutrients and phytoplankton. Conversely, lateral advection transports coastal nutrients and phytoplankton towards offshore areas in the latitudinal band off the Senegalo-Mauritanian region. Moreover, this latter offshore region benefits from transient southern intrusions of nutrient-rich waters from the Guinean upwelling.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Biogeosciences (BG)arrow_drop_down
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4 Research products
  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Kääb, Andreas; Jacquemart, Mylène; Gilbert, Adrien; Leinss, Silvan; +11 Authors

    The detachment of large parts of low-angle mountain glaciers resulting in massive ice–rock avalanches have so far been believed to be a unique type of event, made known to the global scientific community first for the 2002 Kolka Glacier detachment, Caucasus Mountains, and then for the 2016 collapses of two glaciers in the Aru range, Tibet. Since 2016, several so-far unrecognized low-angle glacier detachments have been recognized and described, and new ones have occurred. In the current contribution, we compile, compare, and discuss 20 actual or suspected large-volume detachments of low-angle mountain glaciers at 10 different sites in the Caucasus, the Pamirs, Tibet, Altai, the North American Cordillera, and the Southern Andes. Many of the detachments reached volumes in the order of 10–100 million m3. The similarities and differences between the presented cases indicate that glacier detachments often involve a coincidental combination of factors related to the lowering of basal friction, high or increasing driving stresses, concentration of shear stress, or low resistance to exceed stability thresholds. Particularly soft glacier beds seem to be a common condition among the observed events as they offer smooth contact areas between the glacier and the underlying substrate and are prone to till-strength weakening and eventually basal failure under high pore-water pressure. Partially or fully thawed glacier bed conditions and the presence of liquid water could thus play an important role in the detachments. Surface slopes of the detached glaciers range between around 10∘ and 20∘. This may be low enough to enable the development of thick and thus large-volume glaciers while also being steep enough to allow critical driving stresses to build up. We construct a simple slab model to estimate ranges of glacier slope and width above which a glacier may be able to detach when extensively losing basal resistance. From this model we estimate that all the detachments described in this study occurred due to a basal shear stress reduction of more than 50 %. Most of the ice–rock avalanches resulting from the detachments in this study have a particularly low angle of reach, down to around 5∘, likely due to their high ice content and connected liquefaction potential, the availability of soft basal slurries, and large amounts of basal water, as well as the smooth topographic setting typical for glacial valleys. Low-angle glacier detachments combine elements and likely also physical processes of glacier surges and ice break-offs from steep glaciers. The surge-like temporal evolution ahead of several detachments and their geographic proximity to other surge-type glaciers indicate the glacier detachments investigated can be interpreted as endmembers of the continuum of surge-like glacier instabilities. Though rare, glacier detachments appear to be more frequent than commonly thought and disclose, despite local differences in conditions and precursory evolutions, the fundamental and critical potential of low-angle soft glacier beds to fail catastrophically.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Fernández, Alfonso; Muñoz, Ariel; González-Reyes, Álvaro; Aguilera-Betti, Isabella; +8 Authors

    Streamflow in south-central Chile (SCC, ∼ 37–42∘ S) is vital for agriculture, forestry production, hydroelectricity, and human consumption. Recent drought episodes have generated hydrological deficits with damaging effects on these activities. This region is projected to undergo major reductions in water availability, concomitant with projected increases in water demand. However, the lack of long-term records hampers the development of accurate estimations of natural variability and trends. In order to provide more information on long-term streamflow variability and trends in SCC, here we report findings of an analysis of instrumental records and a tree-ring reconstruction of the summer streamflow of the Río Imperial (∼ 37∘ 40′ S–38∘ 50′ S). This is the first reconstruction in Chile targeted at this season. Results from the instrumental streamflow record (∼ 1940 onwards) indicated that the hydrological regime is fundamentally pluvial with a small snowmelt contribution during spring, and evidenced a decreasing trend, both for the summer and the full annual record. The reconstruction showed that streamflow below the average characterized the post-1980 period, with more frequent, but not more intense, drought episodes. We additionally found that the recent positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode has significantly influenced streamflow. These findings agree with previous studies, suggesting a robust regional signal and a shift to a new hydrological scenario. In this paper, we also discuss implications of these results for water managers and stakeholders; we provide rationale and examples that support the need for the incorporation of tree-ring reconstructions into water resources management.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Hydrology and Earth ...arrow_drop_down
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    Authors: Koseki, Shunya; Giordani, Hervé; Goubanova, Katerina;

    A diagnostic analysis of the climatological annual mean and seasonal cycle of the Angola–Benguela Frontal Zone (ABFZ) is performed by applying an ocean frontogenetic function (OFGF) to the ocean mixing layer (OML). The OFGF reveals that the meridional confluence and vertical tilting terms are the most dominant contributors to the frontogenesis of the ABFZ. The ABFZ shows a well-pronounced semiannual cycle with two maximum (minimum) peaks in April–May and November–December (February–March and July–August). The development of the two maxima of frontogenesis is due to two different physical processes: enhanced tilting from March to April and meridional confluence from September to October. The strong meridional confluence in September to October is closely related to the seasonal southward intrusion of tropical warm water to the ABFZ that seems to be associated with the development of the Angola Dome northwest of the ABFZ. The strong tilting effect from March to April is attributed to the meridional gradient of vertical velocities, whose effect is amplified in this period due to increasing stratification and shallow OML depth. The proposed OFGF can be viewed as a tool to diagnose the performance of coupled general circulation models (CGCMs) that generally fail at realistically simulating the position of the ABFZ, which leading to huge warm biases in the southeastern Atlantic.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Ocean Science (OS)arrow_drop_down
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Auger, Pierre-Amaël; Gorgues, Thomas; Machu, Eric; Aumont, Olivier; +1 Authors

    A comparative box analysis based on a multi-decadal physical–biogeochemical hindcast simulation (1980–2009) was conducted to characterize the drivers of the spatial distribution of phytoplankton biomass and production in the north-west (NW) African upwelling system. Alongshore geostrophic flow related to large-scale circulation patterns associated with the influence of coastal topography is suggested to modulate the coastal divergence, and then the response of nutrient upwelling to wind forcing. In our simulation, this translates into a coastal upwelling of nitrate being significant in all regions but the Cape Blanc (CB) area. However, upwelling is found to be the dominant supplier of nitrate only in the northern Saharan Bank (NSB) and the Senegalo-Mauritanian (SM) regions. Elsewhere, nitrate supply is dominated by meridional advection, especially off Cape Blanc. Phytoplankton displays a similar behaviour with a supply by lateral advection which equals the net coastal phytoplankton growth in all coastal regions except the Senegalo-Mauritanian area. Noticeably, in the Cape Blanc area, the net coastal phytoplankton growth is mostly sustained by high levels of regenerated production exceeding new production by more than twofold, which is in agreement with the locally weak input of nitrate by coastal upwelling. Further offshore, the distribution of nutrients and phytoplankton is explained by the coastal circulation. Indeed, in the northern part of our domain (i.e. Saharan Bank), the coastal circulation is mainly alongshore, resulting in low offshore lateral advection of nutrients and phytoplankton. Conversely, lateral advection transports coastal nutrients and phytoplankton towards offshore areas in the latitudinal band off the Senegalo-Mauritanian region. Moreover, this latter offshore region benefits from transient southern intrusions of nutrient-rich waters from the Guinean upwelling.

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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Biogeosciences (BG)arrow_drop_down
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