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Climate drivers for peatland palaeoclimate records

Climate drivers for peatland palaeoclimate records
Climate drivers for peatland palaeoclimate records
Reconstruction of hydroclimate variability is an important part of understanding natural climate change on decadal to millennial timescales. Peatland records reconstruct ‘bog surface wetness’ (BSW) changes, but it is unclear whether it is a relative dominance of precipitation or temperature that has driven these variations over Holocene timescales. Previously, correlations with instrumental climate data implied that precipitation is the dominant control. However, a recent chironomid inferred July temperature record suggested temperature changes were synchronous with BSW over the mid-late Holocene. This paper provides new analyses of these data to test competing hypotheses of climate controls on bog surface wetness and discusses some of the distal drivers of large-scale spatial patterns of BSW change. Using statistically based estimates of uncertainty in chronologies and proxy records, we show a correlation between Holocene summer temperature and BSW is plausible, but that chronologies are insufficiently precise to demonstrate this conclusively. Simulated summer moisture deficit changes for the last 6000 years forced by temperature alone are relatively small compared with observations over the 20th century. Instrumental records show that summer moisture deficit provides the best explanatory variable for measured water table changes and is more strongly correlated with precipitation than with temperature in both Estonia and the UK. We conclude that BSW is driven primarily by precipitation, reinforced by temperature, which is negatively correlated with precipitation and therefore usually forces summer moisture deficit in the same direction. In western Europe, BSW records are likely to be forced by changes in the strength and location of westerlies, linked to large-scale North Atlantic ocean and atmospheric circulation.
0277-3791
1811-1818
Charman, Dan J.
27b5f4e7-8c1f-4f2c-a0dd-10b6b69c9490
Barber, Keith E.
83d1acae-326d-4cb5-94b6-3d1dc78d64e9
Blaauw, Maarten
42f13bb7-e011-40f3-a218-ff207204b833
Langdon, Pete G
95b97671-f9fe-4884-aca6-9aa3cd1a6d7f
Mauquoy, Dmitri
ffdf1d32-9f02-45ef-8f49-ce111f39f278
Daley, Tim J.
6139bbba-f01d-41be-a258-b1502abb88d5
Hughes, Paul D.M.
14f83168-b203-4a91-a850-8c48535dc31b
Karofeld, Edgar
d628024c-bc4e-46e1-9617-67b4b9b7f1ef
Charman, Dan J.
27b5f4e7-8c1f-4f2c-a0dd-10b6b69c9490
Barber, Keith E.
83d1acae-326d-4cb5-94b6-3d1dc78d64e9
Blaauw, Maarten
42f13bb7-e011-40f3-a218-ff207204b833
Langdon, Pete G
95b97671-f9fe-4884-aca6-9aa3cd1a6d7f
Mauquoy, Dmitri
ffdf1d32-9f02-45ef-8f49-ce111f39f278
Daley, Tim J.
6139bbba-f01d-41be-a258-b1502abb88d5
Hughes, Paul D.M.
14f83168-b203-4a91-a850-8c48535dc31b
Karofeld, Edgar
d628024c-bc4e-46e1-9617-67b4b9b7f1ef

Charman, Dan J., Barber, Keith E., Blaauw, Maarten, Langdon, Pete G, Mauquoy, Dmitri, Daley, Tim J., Hughes, Paul D.M. and Karofeld, Edgar (2009) Climate drivers for peatland palaeoclimate records. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, 1811-1818. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.05.013).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Reconstruction of hydroclimate variability is an important part of understanding natural climate change on decadal to millennial timescales. Peatland records reconstruct ‘bog surface wetness’ (BSW) changes, but it is unclear whether it is a relative dominance of precipitation or temperature that has driven these variations over Holocene timescales. Previously, correlations with instrumental climate data implied that precipitation is the dominant control. However, a recent chironomid inferred July temperature record suggested temperature changes were synchronous with BSW over the mid-late Holocene. This paper provides new analyses of these data to test competing hypotheses of climate controls on bog surface wetness and discusses some of the distal drivers of large-scale spatial patterns of BSW change. Using statistically based estimates of uncertainty in chronologies and proxy records, we show a correlation between Holocene summer temperature and BSW is plausible, but that chronologies are insufficiently precise to demonstrate this conclusively. Simulated summer moisture deficit changes for the last 6000 years forced by temperature alone are relatively small compared with observations over the 20th century. Instrumental records show that summer moisture deficit provides the best explanatory variable for measured water table changes and is more strongly correlated with precipitation than with temperature in both Estonia and the UK. We conclude that BSW is driven primarily by precipitation, reinforced by temperature, which is negatively correlated with precipitation and therefore usually forces summer moisture deficit in the same direction. In western Europe, BSW records are likely to be forced by changes in the strength and location of westerlies, linked to large-scale North Atlantic ocean and atmospheric circulation.

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More information

Published date: 2009
Organisations: Environmental Processes & Change

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 66831
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/66831
ISSN: 0277-3791
PURE UUID: d0e0b82e-0396-4bfe-99e9-d209073c4025
ORCID for Pete G Langdon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2724-2643

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 27 Jul 2009
Last modified: 29 Oct 2019 02:01

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