Last Glacial Maximum precipitation pattern in the Alps inferred from glacier modelling

Published: Dec 1, 2016 by The PISM Authors

Title Last Glacial Maximum precipitation pattern in the Alps inferred from glacier modelling
Authors P. Becker and others
Venue Geographica Helvetica

During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), glaciers in the Alps reached a maximum extent well-beyond their current coverage (red line). This study models the ice cap using PISM and parameterized forms of the uncertain LGM precipitation pattern. Constraints on the model come from geomorphological reconstruction of ice extent based on interpretation of moraines, trimlines and erratic boulders. The model is forced using different temperature cooling and precipitation reduction factors. Use of the present-day precipitation pattern leads to a systematic overestimation of the ice cover on the northern part of the Alps relative to the southern part. A more severe decrease in precipitation in the north was required to reproduce the LGM extent. This result supports a southwesterly advection of atmospheric moisture to the Alps, sustained by a southward shift of the North Atlantic storm track during the LGM.


Latest news

Version 1.2

We are pleased to announce the release of the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) v1.2.

MPI-M Hamburg, Germany: open postdoc for coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice sheet model

The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) contributes to the BMBF project “From the Last Interglacial to the Anthropocene: Modeling a Complete Glacial Cycle” (PalMod,, which aims at simulating the climate from the peak of the last interglacial up to the present using comprehensive Earth System Models. Phase II of this project has an open position Postdoctoral Scientist (W073). The successful candidate will be part of a local team performing and analysing long-term transient simulations covering the last glacial and the transition into the Holocene with an interactively coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice sheet model. Additionally, the candidate will contribute to the continued development of this model. The model system consists of the MPI-Earth system model, the ice sheet model PISM, and the solid-earth model VILMA.

AWI PostDoc: Antarctic Ice Sheets in warming climates

Dr. Lohmann’s group at AWI is seeking a postdoc to work with PISM and the multi-scale Earth system model AWI-ESM. See