Climate, ecosystems and human society as recorded in the first ice core extracted from the Tyrolean Alps: Pollen analysis of the Ortler glacier ice


Pollen analysis of the Ortler glacier ice Glacier ice archives important information about: i) climate (air temperature, amount of precipitation); ii) ecosystems (composition of the vegetation, drought, fire regimes) and iii) human society (changes in land use, slash and burn, emissions linked to mining and smelting). By retrieving and analyzing three ice cores from Mt. Ortles (3905 m, Southern Tyrol, Italy), we will provide the first glacio-paleo-environmental records from this untapped area of the Alps and we will characterize the main factors influencing the European alpine environment during the last part of the Holocene. The studies of stable isotopes, major ions, trace elements, pollen, and a new specific molecular tracer of biomass burning (levoglucosan) from the glacier ice will enable a quantitatively comparison of the main factors driving the Alpine environment during human history. The ultimate goal is highlighting co-evolutionary and/or lead/lag processes regulating this system at centennial to millennial time scales. 

Personnel involved
Klaus Oeggl
Werner Kofler
Daniela Festi

Paolo Gabrielli, Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University
Jacopo Gabrieli, Environmental Science Department, University Ca´Foscari of Venice