Climate and groundwater recharge during the last glaciation in an ice-covered region


U. Beyerle1, R. Purtschert2, W. Aeschbach-Hertig1, D. M. Imboden1, H. H. Loosli2, R. Wieler3, and R. Kipfer1

1 Department of Environmental Physics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich and Swiss Federal Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG), CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
2 Physics Institute, University of Berne, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland
3 Isotope Geology, Department of Earth Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), NO C61, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland



A multitracer study of a small aquifer in northern Switzerland indicates that the atmosphere in central Europe cooled by at least 5°C during the last glacial period. The relation between oxygen isotope ratios (d18O) and recharge temperatures reconstructed for this period is similar to the present-day one if a shift in the d18O value of the oceans during the ice age is taken into account. This similarity suggests that the present-day d18O-temperature relation can be used to reconstruct paleoclimate conditions in northern Switzerland. A gap in calculated groundwater age between about 17,000 and 25,000 years before the present indicates that during the last glacial maximum, local groundwater recharge was prevented by overlying glaciers.


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