10th International Conference on Geomorphology
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

An Anthropocene, human-driven geomorphic change not determined by climate?

Juan Remondo1, Antonio Cendrero1, Luis M. Forte2, Achim A. Beylich3, and Piotr Cienciala4
Juan Remondo et al.
  • 1Cantabria, CITIMAC, Santander, Spain (juan.remondo@unican.es)
  • 2IGS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina
  • 3Geomorphological Field Laboratory, Selbustrand, Norway
  • 4Dept. of Geography and GIS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

A discussion about the possible cause-effect links between some socioeconomic drivers and changes in geomorphic processes is presented. Different types of physical impacts, including geomorphic effects on land subsidence, denudation or frequency of geomorphic-related disasters, show global spatial distributions very similar to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) density, an indicator of the intensity of human pressure on the environment. The intensity of the indicated impacts has increased in recent times, particularly after mid-twentieth century.

            Data and estimates are presented showing that direct plus indirect “human erosion” is currently 1-2 orders of magnitude greater than purely natural one, and growing. Whereas GDP, as an indicator of per capita potential to modify the environment, has tripled in just over half a century, per capita human transfer of earth materials has increased tenfold. The frequency of disasters related to geomorphic processes has also been amplified about tenfold in less than a century. This increase is much greater than the one of other types of “natural” disasters.

            The changes observed in geomorphic processes appear to respond to land surface modification, to a great extent linked to urban and infrastructure development. The growing intensity of these stressors appears to have a global impact at least as great as that of climate, on the geomorphic changes described which seem to be one of the characteristics of the Anthropocene.

How to cite: Remondo, J., Cendrero, A., Forte, L. M., Beylich, A. A., and Cienciala, P.: An Anthropocene, human-driven geomorphic change not determined by climate?, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-643, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-643, 2022.