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The Demise of the Little Ice Age in Italy
D'Orefice, M., Pecci, M., Smiraglia, C. and Ventura, R.  2000.  Retreat of Mediterranean glaciers since the Little Ice Age: Case study of Ghiacciaio del Calderone, central Apennines, Italy.  Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 32: 197-201.

What was done
The authors assembled and analyzed a wealth of historical evidence to derive a history of the post-Little Ice Age shrinkage of the surface area of the Ghiacciaio del Calderone, the southernmost glacier of Europe.

What was learned
From the first available information on the glacier's surface area in 1794, there was a very slow shrinkage of area that lasted until 1884, whereupon the glacier's surface area began to experience a more rapid reduction that has prevailed, with some irregularities, to 1990, resulting in the loss of a little more than half of the glacier's Little Ice Age surface area.

What it means
This history of surface area reduction in the southernmost glacier of Europe is amazingly similar to the history of the retreat of a number of glaciers in southern Chile (see our Journal Review The Demise of the Little Ice Age in Chile).  This correspondence of glacier behavior in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres is evidence of the global extent of the Little Ice Age and the simultaneity of its demise on both hemispheres, two concepts that are currently under attack by a small group of climatologists who are attempting to make the putative warming of the late 20th century look highly unusual, i.e., anthropogenic-induced, in a move designed to garner support for CO2 emission restrictions.  As more such evidence accumulates, however, the underpinnings of their position will, like the glaciers of the Little Ice Age, inevitably erode.  Both the Little Ice Age and the preceding Medieval Warm Period were genuine global events that came on the scene and exited totally independent of any changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Reviewed 20 December 2000