Barber, K.E. and Langdon, P.G.
What drives the peat-based palaeoclimate record? A critical test using multi-proxy climate records from northern Britain
Quaternary Science Reviews, 26, . (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.09.011).
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Peatland palaeoclimate sequences produce bog surface wetness (BSW) reconstructions which are commonly interpreted as changes in
summer effective precipitation, i.e. the net balance between precipitation and evapotranspiration, the latter being mainly governed by
temperature. The relative roles of precipitation and temperature have been investigated previously, although over centennial and
millennial timescales no conclusive relationships have as yet been established, but it has been suggested that summer temperature may
play the dominant role. We aimed to test this by comparing a late-Holocene peat-based palaeoclimate record from Walton Moss,
northern England, with a chironomid-inferred temperature (CI-T) reconstruction from a nearby lake, Talkin Tarn. Both records showed
significant changes in inferred climate over the last 3000 years with lower temperatures corresponding to increases in BSW. The CI-T
reconstruction, which covered the last 6000 years, was also compared to a longer BSW record, again from Walton Moss, and the same
relationships were observed. Our evidence therefore suggests that over centennial timescales summer temperatures are important drivers
of the peat-based palaeoclimate record.
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