Climate and Groundwater Recharge During the Last Glaciation in an Ice-Covered Region

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Science  23 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5389, pp. 731-734
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5389.731

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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 (δ18O) and recharge temperatures reconstructed for this period is similar to the present-day one if a shift in the δ18O value of the oceans during the ice age is taken into account. This similarity suggests that the present-day δ18O-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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