Late Holocene climate change in the western Mediterranean: centennial-scale vegetation and North Atlantic Oscillation variability
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Sediments from alpine peat bogs and lakes from the Sierra Nevada in southeastern Spain (western Mediterranean area) have been very informative in terms of how vegetation and wetland environments were impacted by past climate change. Recently, many studies try to find out the relationship between solar activity, atmosphere and ocean dynamics and changes in the terrestrial environments. The Mediterranean is a very sensitive area with respect to atmospheric dynamics due to (1) its location, right in the boundary between subtropical and temperate climate systems and (2) the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is one of the main mechanism that influence present climate in this area. Here we present a multi-proxy high-resolution study from Borreguil de la Caldera (BdlC), a peat bog that records the last ca. 4500 cal yr BP of vegetation, fire, human impact and climate history from the Sierra Nevada. The pollen, charcoal and non-pollen palynomorphs (NPPs) reconstruction in the BdlC-01 record evidence relative humidity changes in the last millennia interrupting the late Holocene aridification trend. This study shows a relative arid period between ca. 4000 and 3100 cal yr BP; the Iberian Roman humid period (ca. 2600 to 1600 cal yr BP); a relative arid period during the Dark Ages (from ca. AD 500 to AD 900) and Medieval Climate Anomaly (from ca. AD 900 to ca. AD 1300) and predominantly wetter conditions corresponding with The Little Ice Age period (from ca. AD 1300 to AD 1850). This climate variability could be explained by centennial scale changes in the NAO and solar activity.