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The Little Ice Age in Southernmost Chile
Koch, J. and Kilian, R.  2005.  "Little Ice Age" glacier fluctuations, Gran Campo Nevado, southernmost Chile.  The Holocene 15: 20-28.

What was done
The authors mapped and dated, by dendrochronological means, a number of moraine systems of Glaciar Lengua and neighboring glaciers of Gran Campo Nevado (53S) in the southernmost Andes in Chile, after which they compared their results with those of researchers who studied the subject in other parts of South America.

What was learned
Koch and Kilian report that, in the Patagonian Andes, "the culmination of the LIA [Little Ice Age] glacier advances occurred between AD 1600 and 1700 (e.g., Mercer, 1970; Rothlisberger, 1986; Aniya, 1996)," but that "various glaciers at Hielo Patagonico Norte and Hielo Patagonico Sur also formed prominent moraines around 1870 and 1880 (Warren and Sugden, 1993; Winchester et al., 2001; Luckman and Villalba, 2001)."  In addition, they note that their study "further supports this scenario," and that from their observations at Glaciar Lengua and neighboring glaciers at Gran Campo Nevado, "the 'Little Ice Age' advance was possibly the most extensive one during the Holocene for this ice cap."

What it means
As is evident from the results of Koch and Kilian's study, the Little Ice Age was a very real phenomenon in South America, as can be further verified by perusing the materials we have archived under the heading Little Ice Age (Regional - South America) in our Subject Index.  Consequently, their work provides additional evidence for the reality of the millennial-scale oscillation of global climate that has likely brought the world the Modern Warm Period, independent of the concomitant coincidental increase in the air's CO2 concentration.

Aniya, M.  1996.  Holocene variations of Ameghino Glacier, southern Patagonia.  The Holocene 6: 247-252.

Luckman, B.H. and Villalba, R.  2001.  Assessing the synchroneity of glacier fluctuations in the western Cordillera of the Americas during the last millennium.  In: Markgraf, V. (Ed.), Interhemispheric Climate Linkages.  Academic Press, New York, NY, USA, pp. 119-140.

Mercer, J.H.  1970.  Variations of some Patagonian glaciers since the Late-Glacial: II.  American Journal of Science 269: 1-25.

Rothlisberger, F.  1986.  10 000 Jahre Gletschergeschichte der Erde.  Verlag Sauerlander, Aarau.

Warren, C.R. and Sugden, D.E.  1993.  The Patagonian icefields: a glaciological review.  Arctic and Alpine Research 25: 316-331.

Winchester, V., Harrison, S. and Warren, C.R.  2001.  Recent retreat Glacier Nef, Chilean Patagonia, dated by lichenometry and dendrochronology.  Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 33: 266-273.

Reviewed 22 June 2005