Glacial Retreat of 5,000-7,000 Years Ago

I've come across a few climate articles reporting warm temperatures and high sea levels just few millennia ago. A long time to us, just a blink of the eye in the geologic timeframe. The most interesting reports come from the Swiss Alps, but reports from Greenland and Peru suggest that the glacial retreat was worldwide.

A common theme of these articles is to report how anomalous our current temperatures are compared to the past. (Warmest in 7,000 years! Disaster is near!) Surprisingly absent is speculation that there may be more botanical and archaeological remains to be found should glaciers retreat further. The report on glacial wood does point that out. It would be refreshing to read an article looking why it was so warm then. I haven't gone looking for any, I'm sure I'll find one soon enough.

Semi off topic links:

I hadn't looked hard, but I hadn't come across an information source for North American glaciers. I found Glacier Mass Balance in a blog entry. The site concentrates on the North America's North Cascades, but has links to mass balance information from wider areas. The data thins out going before 1980, so most of it covers the warming phase of a PDO cycle and no data is included from before 1890 or so. However it is a good source of modern glacier information.

A very good reference site for Swiss glaciers is maintained by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology - Zurich. Its data goes back to the late 1800s when glacial flow first began to be studied.

Contact Ric Werme or return to his home page.

Last updated 2013 March 17, originally written 2008 December 6.