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Holocene glacial history of Svalbard: Status, perspectives and challenges

Holocene glacial history of Svalbard: Status, perspectives and challenges

Title: Holocene glacial history of Svalbard: Status, perspectives and challenges
Author: Farnsworth, Wesley   orcid.org/0000-0001-7375-2228
Allaart, Lis
Ingolfsson, Olafur   orcid.org/0000-0001-8143-2005
Alexanderson, Helena
Forwick, Matthias
Noormets, Riko
Retelle, Michael
Schomacker, Anders
Date: 2020-09
Language: English
Scope: 103249
University/Institute: Háskóli Íslands
University of Iceland
School: Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasvið (HÍ)
School of Engineering and Natural Sciences (UI)
Department: Jarðvísindastofnun (HÍ)
Institute of Earth Sciences (UI)
Series: Earth-Science Reviews;208
ISSN: 0012-8252
DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2020.103249
Subject: Climate; Glaciers; Holocene; Little Ice Age; Neoglacial; Spitsbergen; Loftslag; Jöklar; Nýlífsöld; Svalbarði
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/2215

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Farnsworth, W. R., et al. (2020). "Holocene glacial history of Svalbard: Status, perspectives and challenges." Earth-Science Reviews 208: 103249.


We synthesize the current understanding of glacier activity on Svalbard from the end of the Late Pleistocene (12,000 yrs. before present) to the end of the Little Ice Age (c. 1920 AD). Our glacier history is derived from the SVALHOLA database, the first compilation of Holocene geochronology for Svalbard and the surrounding waters, including over 1,800 radiocarbon, terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide and optically stimulated luminescence ages. Data have been categorized by geological setting, uniformly (re-)calibrated, quality assessed and ultimately used to constrain glacier fluctuations (deglaciation, ice free conditions, glacier re-advances and ice marginal positions). We advance existing knowledge by mapping the extent and distribution of ice-cover during the Holocene glacial maximum and the glacial minimum, as well as present retreat rates (and percentages) within Early Holocene fjord-systems. Throughout the Holocene, Svalbard glaciers have responded to a varying combination of climatic, environmental and dynamic driving factors which influence both the extent and behavior of ice margins. We discuss the complexities of glacier systems and their dynamics in response to changes in climate. This review provides a holistic state of the art of Holocene glaciers on Svalbard, suitable for orienting future works which address gaps in our current knowledge.


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This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).

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