Millennium-long recession of limestone facades in London

Peter Brimblecombe, Carlota M. Grossi

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Historical data on the temperature and precipitation data for London has been combined with output from the Hadley Model to estimate the climate of London for the period 1100–2100 CE. This has been converted to other parameters such as freeze–thaw frequency and snowfall relevant to the weathering of stone facades. The pollutant concentrations have been estimated for the same period, with the historical values taken from single box modelling and future values from changes likely given current policy within the metropolis. These values are used in the Lipfert model to show that the recession from karst weathering dominates across the period, while the contributions of sulphur deposition seem notable only across a shorter period 1700–2000 CE. Observations of the late seventeenth century suggest London architects witnessed a notable increase in the recession rate and attributed “fretting quality” to “smoaks of the sea-coal”. The recession rates measured in the late twentieth century lend some support to the estimates from the Lipfert model. The recession looks to increase only slightly, and frost shattering will decrease while salt weathering is likely to increase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-471
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Issue number3-4
Early online date15 Jul 2008
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

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