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Summer temperature gradients in northwest Europe during the Lateglacial to early Holocene transition (15–8 ka BP) inferred from chironomid assemblages

Summer temperature gradients in northwest Europe during the Lateglacial to early Holocene transition (15–8 ka BP) inferred from chironomid assemblages
Summer temperature gradients in northwest Europe during the Lateglacial to early Holocene transition (15–8 ka BP) inferred from chironomid assemblages
We present a series of summer air temperature isotherm maps based on chironomid-inferred temperatures from northwest Europe, covering the Lateglacial and early Holocene (15–8 ka BP). These maps are the first of their kind, and use data derived from 22 Lateglacial sites and 34 early Holocene sites. The isotherms are generated by weighted spatial interpolation (kriging). The major patterns of chironomid-inferred summer temperatures are spatially well-resolved in both the Lateglacial and early Holocene. The isotherm maps indicate that there was a strong west to east gradient during the Lateglacial Interstadial (GI-1) due to the influence of thermohaline circulation in the regions bordering the north Atlantic, which diminishes eastwards. A strong north to south temperature gradient is also apparent, particularly in eastern regions, influenced by the extent of the Scandinavian ice-cap. Peak temperatures are achieved early in the Interstadial in the south of the region but occur towards the end of the Interstadial in the north. Holocene warming varies spatially and temporally and is earliest in the south and east, but later in the north and west. During the period covered in our study maximum warmth is reached ca. 10 ka BP. The chironomid-based Lateglacial isotherm maps are compared with previously published isotherm maps from the same region based on beetle-inferred temperatures. While the trends shown in the two datasets are similar, beetle-inferred temperatures are often warmer than chironomid-inferred temperatures. This is especially marked in GI-1e and may be due to microclimatic effects causing the chironomids to underestimate air temperatures and/or the beetles to over-estimate air temperatures. The spatial coherence between sites in both the Lateglacial and early Holocene suggest that the chironomid-based temperature estimates are largely reliable, although data testing suggests that estimates from southern Scandinavia may be less reliable perhaps due to high topographical relief influencing local climate. More data points are required, particularly from northwest Scotland, southwest England and Wales, northeast France, Denmark, Finland and the Baltic States, to confirm trends and provide even coverage and a denser network of sites
holocene, gis, kriging, chironomids, summer temperature, nw europe, climate reconstruction
1040-6182
80-90
Brooks, Stephen J.
a5c731e5-2874-46ca-a55c-1726dd3fcb22
Langdon, Peter G.
95b97671-f9fe-4884-aca6-9aa3cd1a6d7f
Brooks, Stephen J.
a5c731e5-2874-46ca-a55c-1726dd3fcb22
Langdon, Peter G.
95b97671-f9fe-4884-aca6-9aa3cd1a6d7f

Brooks, Stephen J. and Langdon, Peter G. (2014) Summer temperature gradients in northwest Europe during the Lateglacial to early Holocene transition (15–8 ka BP) inferred from chironomid assemblages. [in special issue: G. Russell Coope: Papers Honouring His Life and Career] Quaternary International, 341, 80-90. (doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.01.034).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We present a series of summer air temperature isotherm maps based on chironomid-inferred temperatures from northwest Europe, covering the Lateglacial and early Holocene (15–8 ka BP). These maps are the first of their kind, and use data derived from 22 Lateglacial sites and 34 early Holocene sites. The isotherms are generated by weighted spatial interpolation (kriging). The major patterns of chironomid-inferred summer temperatures are spatially well-resolved in both the Lateglacial and early Holocene. The isotherm maps indicate that there was a strong west to east gradient during the Lateglacial Interstadial (GI-1) due to the influence of thermohaline circulation in the regions bordering the north Atlantic, which diminishes eastwards. A strong north to south temperature gradient is also apparent, particularly in eastern regions, influenced by the extent of the Scandinavian ice-cap. Peak temperatures are achieved early in the Interstadial in the south of the region but occur towards the end of the Interstadial in the north. Holocene warming varies spatially and temporally and is earliest in the south and east, but later in the north and west. During the period covered in our study maximum warmth is reached ca. 10 ka BP. The chironomid-based Lateglacial isotherm maps are compared with previously published isotherm maps from the same region based on beetle-inferred temperatures. While the trends shown in the two datasets are similar, beetle-inferred temperatures are often warmer than chironomid-inferred temperatures. This is especially marked in GI-1e and may be due to microclimatic effects causing the chironomids to underestimate air temperatures and/or the beetles to over-estimate air temperatures. The spatial coherence between sites in both the Lateglacial and early Holocene suggest that the chironomid-based temperature estimates are largely reliable, although data testing suggests that estimates from southern Scandinavia may be less reliable perhaps due to high topographical relief influencing local climate. More data points are required, particularly from northwest Scotland, southwest England and Wales, northeast France, Denmark, Finland and the Baltic States, to confirm trends and provide even coverage and a denser network of sites

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 5 March 2014
Published date: 18 August 2014
Keywords: holocene, gis, kriging, chironomids, summer temperature, nw europe, climate reconstruction
Organisations: Palaeoenvironment Laboratory (PLUS)

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 362773
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/362773
ISSN: 1040-6182
PURE UUID: 0672456c-a0e8-42da-b1fa-2860d0113603
ORCID for Peter G. Langdon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2724-2643

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Date deposited: 07 Mar 2014 14:59
Last modified: 21 May 2020 00:26

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