American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Climate Related Landscapes in World Mountains Criteria and Map

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  • Publication Year: 1991

Climate Related Landscapes in World Mountains Criteria and Map. Will F. Thompson. “Annals of Geomorphology,” Gebrüder Bornraeger, Berlin/ Stuttgart, 1990. 92 pages, 61 photographs, 1 map, 1 table. Price $50.00 (approximate dollar-conversion value).

This somewhat technical but well-illustrated treatise discusses the sculpture and topographic characteristics of mountains as they are influenced by regional climates. Though mountain forms are also determined in part by their geologic makeup, Dr. Thompson believes that broader (more regional) sculpture characteristics result from climatic factors. He classifies various mountain terrains and landforms according to (1) the amount, character, and seasons of precipitation; (2) midsummer temperatures in the region, expressed by the height of the temperature-controlled timberline; and (3) frost severity and its effects, including permafrost, at significantly different altitudes relative to such timberlines.

A world map distinguishes various mountain ranges according to climatically influenced sculpture types. Among these are included (1) polar mountains (ice-capped in eastern Greenland, Spitsbergen, and Antarctica; ice-free in most of Arctic Canada, the Brooks Range, and northeastern Siberia); (2) maritime west coast mountains (from subarctic fiord coasts equator-ward to Mediterranean and California coastal ranges; (3) subarctic and mid-latitude interior ranges (Alaska Range, Canadian Rockies, the Alps, Pamirs, Caucasus, New Zealand’s Southern Alps, western Himalaya); (4) extra-tropical east coast mountains (severely frost-riven in New England and eastern Siberia); (5) middle latitude and tropical desert mountains (Tibetan ranges, northern Chilean Andes, and the drier ranges of our Southwest; and (6) humid tropical ranges (tropical Africa mountains, equatorial eastern Andes, Malaya, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, New Guinea, northern Burma, and eastern Himalaya).

The paper is heavily annotated, from a bibliography of nearly 300 references. The numerous and excellent mountain photographs are hampered by their detailed captions being hidden at the end of the monograph. The price is high, but the paper will be available in many university libraries.

Dee Molenaar

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