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The climate of Scotland over the last 5000 years inferred from multiproxy peatland records: inter-site correlations and regional variability

Langdon, P. and Barber, K.E. (2005) The climate of Scotland over the last 5000 years inferred from multiproxy peatland records: inter-site correlations and regional variability Journal of Quaternary Science, 20, (6), pp. 549-566. (doi:10.1002/jqs.934).

Record type: Article


The mid to late-Holocene climates of most of Scotland have been reconstructed from seven peat bogs located across north–south and east–west geographical and climatological gradients. The main techniques used for palaeoclimatic reconstruction were plant macrofossil, colorimetric humification, and testate amoebae analyses, which were supported by a radiocarbon-based chronology, aided by markers such as tephra isochrons and recent rises in pine pollen and in spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCPs). Field stratigraphy was undertaken at each site in order to show that the changes detected within the peat profiles were replicable. Proxy climate records were reconstructed using detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) of the plant macrofossil data and a mean water table depth transfer function on the testate amoebae data. These reconstructions, coupled with the humification data, were standardised for each site and used to produce a composite record of bog surface wetness (BSW) from each site. The results show coherent wet and dry phases over the last 5000 years and suggest regional differences in climate across Scotland, specifically between northern and southern Scotland. Distinct climatic cycles are identified, all of which record a millennial-scale periodicity which can be correlated with previously identified marine and ice core Holocene cycles. The key role of the macrofossil remains of Sphagnum imbricatum, a taxon now extinct on many sites, is discussed in relation to the identified climatic shifts.

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Submitted date: 12 November 2004
Published date: 9 August 2005
Additional Information: The major paper from Langdon’s NERC doctoral project, conceived and supervised by Barber. Innovative in only using bogs containing tephras which allowed precise “pinning points” in the datasets, allowing regional comparisons at “snapshots in time”. Paper co-written and was the 4th most-accessed in JQS between January 2005 and August 2006.
Keywords: peat bog, climate, Scotland, plant macrofossils, humification, testate amoebae, Sphagnum imbricatum


Local EPrints ID: 37826
ISSN: 0267-8179
PURE UUID: f80a9573-c82a-4e9c-a172-9a188a0996e4
ORCID for P. Langdon: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 26 May 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:41

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Author: P. Langdon ORCID iD
Author: K.E. Barber

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