Late Holocene evolution of glaciers in the southeastern Alps

Renato R. Colucci, Manja Žebre*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)
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The Julian Alps (in the southeastern European Alps, Italy and Slovenia) represent an important case study area for the study of small and very small maritime glaciers. High mean annual precipitation results in great snow accumulation during the winter, permitting the presence of ice bodies with the lowest Equilibrium Line Altitudes in the Alps. During the Little Ice Age (LIA) 19 small glaciers (<1 km2) existed, covering a total area of 2.4 km2. By 2012, the glacierized area had shrunk by 84% and only isolated glacierets and ice patches survived, each having a total area less than 0.5 km2. We present here a geomorphological and palaeoglaciological map of 8 sections of the Julian Alps related to the late Holocene distribution of glaciers, at a scale of 1:6000. Glacier topography during the LIA maximum was reconstructed on the basis of well-expressed geomorphological features together with historical archive data. The present-day distribution of ice bodies was inferred from orthophotos and 1 m resolution digital terrain models derived from airborne laser scanning. The past and present areal extent and surface morphology of glaciers permits calculation of volume loss since the LIA, which is estimated at 96%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-299
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Maps
Issue numberSupp. 1
Early online date14 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 04 Nov 2016


  • Alps
  • Holocene
  • Little Ice Age
  • Maritime glaciers
  • volume-area scaling


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