Topic Climate

The principal aim of these two Postdoc projects is to determine how climate shifts and variability influence the dynamics of surface processes and affect landscape evolution over various timescales. Given the demonstrated sensitivity of landscape denudation rates to precipitation along the steep slopes of the eastern margin of the Andean Plateau1, we hypothesize that the generation of thick late Pleistocene sedimentary fill terraces is linked to wetter climate conditions, and possibly also to changes in the variability of rainfall.

The key question which this project aims to answer is how tectonic processes such as mountain-range uplift affect atmospheric circulation patterns and enforce subsequent hydrological changes. The NW Argentine Andes are an ideal location to study these processes, due to unique and characteristic circulations patterns associated with the South American Low Level Jet (SALLJ) as part of the SAMS, which were established as a consequence of the topographic growth of the Andean orogen.

Lacustrine deposits are perfect environmental and climatic records of changes in lake-internal processes and catchment conditions, and exhibit information to understand past, present and future climatic changes. The aim of this project is to decipher past climatic changes in NW Argentina with special focus on variations of precipitation.

The PhD project focuses on the analysis of rock glaciers and rock slides feeding the central Andean sediment cascade on two study areas in the Central Andes (Rio Atuel) near Mendoza and Desert Andes (Sierra Famatina) near La Rioja. The aim is to see how spatial pattern, topographic characteristics and climate parameters control the episodic and gradual release of sediment into the drainage network.

Extreme rainfall events fundamentally impact erosion and deposition. The combination of the South American Monsoon System (SAMS) and high topography of the Central Andes constitutes the most important drivers for the highly asymmetric distribution of rainfall.