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Water Resources in the Arid Mountains of the Atacama Desert (Northern Chile): Past Climate Changes and Modern Conflicts

  • Martin Grosjean
  • Heinz Veit
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 23)

Abstract

The Atacama Desert of the Central Andes (18°S to 28°S) has become a focal point of environmental research in recent years. Indeed, this area is a key site in several respects. It is located between the tropical and extratropical precipitation belts; the vertical gradients of ecozones range from sea level at the Pacific Coast up to high mountains that reach into the mid-troposphere at 6000 m elevation. The prominent mountain chain of the Andes stretches N-S, perpendicular to the zonal westerly airflow of the mid-latitudes, which creates distinct environmental gradients at meso-and micro-scales. Due to their sensitive location at the juncture between tropical and extratropical climate zones, paleoclimate records from this area may potentially provide important insights into the dynamics of the large-scale atmospheric circulation in the Central Andes in the past. This region therefore provides an ideal natural laboratory for paleoclimatologists.

Keywords

Andes Arid zone Chile Climate change Holocene Quaternary 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Grosjean
    • 1
  • Heinz Veit
    • 2
  1. 1.NCCR ClimateUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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