Due to their outstanding resolution and well-constrained chronologies, Greenland ice-core records provide a master record of past climatic changes throughout the Last Interglacialâ€“Glacial cycle in the North Atlantic region. As part of the INTIMATE (INTegration of Ice-core, MArine and TErrestrial records) project, protocols have been proposed to ensure consistent and robust correlation between different records of past climate. A key element of these protocols has been the formal definition and ordinal numbering of the sequence of Greenland Stadials (GS) and Greenland Interstadials (GI) within the most recent glacial period. The GS and GI periods are the Greenland expressions of the characteristic Dansgaardâ€“Oeschger events that represent cold and warm phases of the North Atlantic region, respectively. We present here a more detailed and extended GS/GI template for the whole of the Last Glacial period. It is based on a synchronization of the NGRIP, GRIP, and GISP2 ice-core records that allows the parallel analysis of all three records on a common time scale. The boundaries of the GS and GI periods are defined based on a combination of stable-oxygen isotope ratios of the ice (Î´18O, reflecting mainly local temperature) and calcium ion concentrations (reflecting mainly atmospheric dust loading) measured in the ice. The data not only resolve the well-known sequence of Dansgaardâ€“Oeschger events that were first defined and numbered in the ice-core records more than two decades ago, but also better resolve a number of short-lived climatic oscillations, some defined here for the first time. Using this revised scheme, we propose a consistent approach for discriminating and naming all the significant abrupt climatic events of the Last Glacial period that are represented in the Greenland ice records. The final product constitutes an extended and better resolved Greenland stratotype sequence, against which other proxy records can be compared and correlated. It also provides a more secure basis for investigating the dynamics and fundamental causes of these climatic perturbations.
The present interglacial, the Holocene, spans the period of the last 11,700 years. It has sustained the growth and development of modern society. The millennial-scale decreasing solar insolation in the Northern Hemisphere summer lead to Northern Hemisphere cooling, a southern shift of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and a weakening of the Northern Hemisphere summer monsoon systems. On the multidecadal to multicentury-scale, periods of more stable and warmer climate were interrupted by several cold relapses, at least in the Northern Hemisphere extra-tropical area. Based on carefully selected 10,000-year-long time series of temperature and humidity/precipitation, as well as reconstructions of glacier advances, the spatiotemporal pattern of six cold relapses during the last 10,000 years was analysed and presented in form of a Holocene Climate Atlas (HOCLAT; see http://www.oeschger.unibe.ch/research/projects/holocene_atlas/). A clear cyclicity was not found, and the spatiotemporal variability of temperature and humidity/precipitation during the six specific cold events (8200, 6300, 4700, 2700, 1550 and 550 years BP) was very high. Different dynamical processes such as meltwater flux into the North Atlantic, low solar activity, explosive volcanic eruptions, and fluctuations of the thermohaline circulation likely played a major role. In addition, internal dynamics in the North Atlantic and Pacific area (including their complex interaction) were likely involved. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
During the last glacial the ice sheet that subsumed most of Britain, Ireland and the North Sea attained its maximum extent by 27 ka BP and with an ice volume sufficient to raise global sea level by ca 2.5 m when it melted. We reconstruct the demise of this British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) and present palaeo-glaciological maps of retreat stages between 27 and 15 ka BR The whole land area was investigated using remote sensing data and we present maps of moraines, meltwater channels, eskers, and drumlins and a methodology of how to interpret and bring them together. For the continental shelf, numerous large moraines were discovered recording an extensive pattern of retreat stretching from SW Ireland to the Shetland Isles. From an integration of this new mapping of glacial geomorphology (>26,000 landforms) with previously published evidence, compiled in the BRITICE database, we derive a pattern of retreat for the whole BIIS. We review and compile relevant dates (881 examples) that constrain the timing of retreat. All data are held within a Geographic Information System (GIS), and are deciphered to produce a best-estimate of the combined pattern and timing of retreat. Pattern information reveals an ice sheet mainly comprised of a shelf-parallel configuration from SW Ireland to NE Scotland but it spread far enough to the south to incorporate outlying ice domes over Wales, the Lake District and Kerry. Final disintegration was into a number of separate ice caps, rather than reduction as a single mass, and paradoxically, retreat was not always back to high ground. By 23 ka BP ice withdrew along its northern boundaries at the same time as the southern margins were expanding, including transient ice streaming down the Irish Sea and advances of lobes in the Cheshire Basin, Vale of York and east coast of England. Ice divides migrated south. By 19 ka the ice sheet was in crisis with widespread marine-based ice losses, particularly in the northern North Sea and the Irish Sea. Considerable dynamic-thinning occurred during this phase. Final collapse of all marine sectors occurred by 17 ka BP and with most margins beginning to back-step onshore. Disintegration of the North Sea 'ice bridge' between Britain and Norway remains loosely constrained in time but the possibility of catastrophic collapse of this sector is highlighted. The North Channel and Irish Sea ice streams had finally cleaved the ice sheet into separate Irish and Scottish ice sheets by 16 ka BP. Rates of ice loss were found to vary widely over space and time (e.g., 65-260 km(3) per year). The role of ice streams and calving losses of marine-based sectors are examined. Retreat rates of up to ca 150 ma(-1) were found for some ice stream margins. That large parts (2/3) of the BIIS were marine-based, drained by ice streams, and possibly with fringing ice shelves in places, makes it a useful analogue for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). This is especially so because the BIIS deglaciated in response to rising temperatures and a rising sea level (driven by melting of other ice masses) which are the current forcings that might cause collapse of the WAIS. Our reconstruction, when viewed from the opposite perspective, documents when fresh land became exposed for exploitation by plants, animals and Man, and records for how long such land has been available for soil and geochemical development and ecological succession. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Speleothem records in southeastern China provide key evidence for past environmental changes. However, the climatic interpretation of these proxies has remained a great controversy. Earlier work interprets the cave delta 18O signal associated with regional rainfall of the East Asia Summer Monsoon (EASM) or monsoon rainfall upstream of China. Recent isotope modeling supports the latter but show little correspondence between the precipitation delta 18O and rainfall in China. Here, we examine the evolution of the climate and precipitation delta 18O for the last 21,000 years in models and observations. Recognizing the regional difference of the EASM rainfall, we propose an interpretation of the Chinese delta 18O record that reconciles its representativeness of EASM and its driving mechanism of upstream depletion. The delta 18O records do represent the intensity of the EASM system. The monsoon intensity is best characterized by enhanced southerly monsoon winds, which correlate strongly with negative delta 18O over China and enhanced monsoon rainfall in northern China, as well as the continental scale Asian monsoon rainfall response in the upstream regions. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
To provide a new reconstruction of the deglaciation of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet, in the form of calendar-year time-slices, which are particularly useful for ice sheet modelling, we have compiled and synthesized published geomorphological data for eskers, ice-marginal formations, lineations, marginal meltwater channels, striae, ice-dammed lakes, and geochronological data from radiocarbon, varve, optically-stimulated luminescence, and cosmogenic nuclide dating. This is summarized as a deglaciation map of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet with isochrons marking every 1000 years between 22 and 13 cal kyr BP and every hundred years between 11.6 and final ice decay after 9.7 cal kyr BP. Deglaciation patterns vary across the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet domain, reflecting differences in climatic and geomorphic settings as well as ice sheet basal thermal conditions and terrestrial versus marine margins. For example, the ice sheet margin in the high-precipitation coastal setting of the western sector responded sensitively to climatic variations leaving a detailed record of prominent moraines and other ice-marginal deposits in many fjords and coastal valleys. Retreat rates across the southern sector differed between slow retreat of the terrestrial margin in western and southern Sweden and rapid retreat of the calving ice margin in the Baltic Basin. Our reconstruction is consistent with much of the published research. However, the synthesis of a large amount of existing and new data support refined reconstructions in some areas. For example, the LGM extent of the ice sheet in northwestern Russia was located far east and it occurred at a later time than the rest of the ice sheet, at around 17-15 cal kyr BP. We also propose a slightly different chronology of moraine formation over southern Sweden based on improved correlations of moraine segments using new LiDAR data and tying the timing of moraine formation to Greenland ice core cold stages. Retreat rates vary by as much as an order of magnitude in different sectors of the ice sheet, with the lowest rates on the high-elevation and maritime Norwegian margin. Retreat rates compared to the climatic information provided by the Greenland ice core record show a general correspondence between retreat rate and climatic forcing, although a close match between retreat rate and climate is unlikely because of other controls, such as topography and marine versus terrestrial margins. Overall, the time slice reconstructions of Fennoscandian Ice Sheet deglaciation from 22 to 9.7 cal kyr BP provide an important dataset for understanding the contexts that underpin spatial and temporal patterns in retreat of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet, and are an important resource for testing and refining ice sheet models. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
The last 6000 years are of particular interest to the understanding of the Earth System because the boundary conditions of the climate system did not change dramatically (in comparison to larger glacial-interglacial changes), and because abundant, detailed regional palaeoclimatic proxy records cover this period. We use selected proxy-based reconstructions of different climate variables, together with state-of-the-art time series of natural forcings (orbital variations, solar activity variations, large tropical volcanic eruptions, land cover and greenhouse gases), underpinned by results from General Circulation Models (GCMs) and Earth System Models of Intermediate Complexity (EMICs), to establish a comprehensive explanatory framework for climate changes from the Mid-Holocene (MH) to pre-industrial time. The redistribution of solar energy, due to orbital forcing on a millennia] timescale, was the cause of a progressive southward shift of the Northern Hemisphere (NH) summer position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). This was accompanied by a pronounced weakening of the monsoon systems in Africa and Asia and increasing dryness and desertification on both continents. The associated summertime cooling of the NH, combined with changing temperature gradients in the world oceans, likely led to an increasing amplitude of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and, possibly, increasingly negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) indices up to the beginning of the last millennium. On decadal to multi-century timescales, a worldwide coincidence between solar irradiance minima, tropical volcanic eruptions and decadal to multi-century scale cooling events was not found. However, reconstructions show that widespread decadal to multi-century scale cooling events, accompanied by advances of mountain glaciers, occurred in the NH (e.g., in Scandinavia and the European Alps). This occurred namely during the Little Ice Age (LIA) between AD similar to 1350 and 1850, when the lower summer insolation in the NH, due to orbital forcing, coincided with solar activity minima and several strong tropical volcanic eruptions. The role of orbital forcing in the NH cooling, the southward ITCZ shift and the desertification of the Sahara are supported by numerous model simulations. Other simulations have suggested that the fingerprint of solar activity variations should be strongest in the tropics, but there is also evidence that changes in the ocean heat transport took place during the LIA at high northern latitudes, with possible additional implications for climates of the Southern Hemisphere (SH). (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Downcore counting of laminations in varved sediments offers a direct and incremental dating technique for high-resolution climatic and environmental archives with at least annual and sometimes even seasonal resolution. The pioneering definition of varves by De Geer (1912) had been restricted to rhythmically deposited proglacial clays. One century later the meaning of 'varve' has been expanded to include all annually deposited laminae in terrestrial and marine settings. Under favourable basin configurations and environmental conditions, limnic varves are formed due to seasonality of depositional processes from the lake's water column and/or transport from the catchment area. Subsequent to deposition of topmost laminae, the physical preservation of the accumulating varved sequence requires the sustained absence of sediment mixing, for example via wave action or macrobenthic bioturbation. Individual (sub)laminae in varved lake sediments typically express contrasting colours, always differ in terms of their organic, chemical and/or mineralogical compositions, and often also differ with regard to grain-size. Various predominating climatic and depositional conditions may result in clastic, biogenic or endogenic (in cl. evaporitic) varved sediments and their mixtures. To reliably establish a varve chronology, the annual character of laminations needs to be determined and verified in a multidisciplinary fashion. Sources and influences of possible errors in varve chronologies are best determined and constrained by repeated varve counts, and by including radioisotopes and correlation with historically documented events. A well-established varve chronology greatly enhances the scientific value of laminated limnic archives by securely anchoring the wealth of multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental information in the form of time-series for multidisciplinary investigations. Applications of varved records are discussed with special reference to advances since the 1980s. These span fields like calibrating radiometric dating methods, reconstructing past changes of the Earth's magnetic field or detecting fluctuations in solar forcing. Once a verve chronology is established it can be applied to precisely date events like volcanic ash layers, earthquakes or human impact, as well as short-and long-term climate (temperature, precipitation, wind, hydroclimatic conditions or flooding) and environmental changes (eutrophication, pollution). Due to their exceptional high temporal resolution and in combination with their robust and accurate "internal" time scale in calendar years, annually laminated sediments can be regarded as one of the most precious environmental archives on the continents. These records are necessary to extend temporally limited instrumental records back in time. As such they have societal relevance with regard to risk assessments related to natural hazards arising from e.g. flooding or volcanic eruptions. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Humans have transformed Europe's landscapes since the establishment of the first agricultural societies in the mid-Holocene. The most important anthropogenic alteration of the natural environment was the clearing of forests to establish cropland and pasture, and the exploitation of forests for fuel wood and construction materials. While the archaeological and paleoecological record documents the time history of anthropogenic deforestation at numerous individual sites, to study the effect that prehistoric and preindustrial deforestation had on continental-scale carbon and water cycles we require spatially explicit maps of changing forest cover through time. Previous attempts to map preindustrial anthropogenic land use and land cover change addressed only the recent past, or relied on simplistic extrapolations of present day land use patterns to past conditions. In this study we created a very high resolution, annually resolved time series of anthropogenic deforestation in Europe over the past three millennia by 1) digitizing and synthesizing a database of population history for Europe and surrounding areas, 2) developing a model to simulate anthropogenic deforestation based on population density that handles technological progress, and 3) applying the database and model to a gridded dataset of land suitability for agriculture and pasture to simulate spatial and temporal trends in anthropogenic deforestation. Our model results provide reasonable estimations of deforestation in Europe when compared to historical accounts. We simulate extensive European deforestation at 1000 BC, implying that past attempts to quantify anthropogenic perturbation of the Holocene carbon cycle may have greatly underestimated early human impact on the climate system. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Long-term sedimentary sequences provide a wealth of useful information for research into the palaeo-environment, especially in relation to past climate change. Shorter records provide similar information in many archaeological contexts. However if such records are to be used to provide precise timing of events, and more critically the relative timing between different records, methods are needed to provide accurate and precise age-depth models for these sequences. Given the imprecision of individual calibrated radiocarbon determinations it is necessary to use the information we have about the deposition process to refine our chronologies and also to provide interpolation between dated levels in any sequence. Even with layer counted chronologies, the uncertainties are sometimes hard to quantify. This paper outlines a range of Bayesian models for deposition which have been implemented in the computer programme OxCal. These models can be used to combine information from the sediments themselves with radiocarbon or other direct dating information. Such models have the potential to integrate information between different records and provide a coherent chronology on which to base environmental or archaeological research. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
A global overview of glacier advances and retreats (grouped by regions and by millennia) for the Holocene is compiled from previous studies. The reconstructions of glacier fluctuations are based on 1) mapping and dating moraines defined by C-14, TCN, OSL, lichenometry and tree rings (discontinuous records/time series), and 2) sediments from proglacial lakes and speleothems (continuous records/time series). Using 189 continuous and discontinuous time series, the long-term trends and centennial fluctuations of glaciers were compared to trends in the recession of Northern and mountain tree lines, and with orbital, solar and volcanic studies to examine the likely forcing factors that drove the changes recorded. A general trend of increasing glacier size from the early-mid Holocene, to the late Holocene in the extra-tropical areas of the Northern Hemisphere (NH) is related to overall summer temperature, forced by orbitally-controlled insolation. The glaciers in New Zealand and in the tropical Andes also appear to follow the orbital trend, i.e., they were decreasing from the early Holocene to the present. In contrast, glacier fluctuations in some monsoonal areas of Asia and southern South America generally did not follow the orbital trends, but fluctuated at a higher frequency possibly triggered by distinct teleconnections patterns. During the Neoglacial, advances clustered at 4.4-4.2 ka, 3.8-3.4 ka, 3.3-2.8 ka, 2.6 ka, 2.3-2.1 ka, 1.5-1.4 ka, 12-1.0 ka, 0.7-0.5 ka, corresponding to general cooling periods in the North Atlantic. Some of these episodes coincide with multidecadal periods of low solar activity, but it is unclear what mechanism might link small changes in irradiance to widespread glacier fluctuations. Explosive volcanism may have played a role in some periods of glacier advances, such as around 1.7-1.6 ka (coinciding with the Taupo volcanic eruption at 232 +/- 5 CE) but the record of explosive volcanism is poorly known through the Holocene. The compilation of ages suggests that there is no single mechanism driving glacier fluctuations on a global scale. Multidecadal variations of solar and volcanic activity supported by positive feedbacks in the climate system may have played a critical role in Holocene glaciation, but further research on such linkages is needed. The rate and the global character of glacier retreat in the 20th through early 21st centuries appears unusual in the context of Holocene glaciation, though the retreating glaciers in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere are still larger today than they were in the early and/or mid-Holocene. The current retreat, however, is occurring during an interval of orbital forcing that is favorable for glacier growth and is therefore caused by a combination of factors other than orbital forcing, primarily strong anthropogenic effects. Glacier retreat will continue into future decades due to the delayed response of glaciers. to climate change. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
It has been known since Rhodes Fairbridge's first attempt to establish a global pattern of Holocene sea-level change by combining evidence from Western Australia and from sites in the northern hemisphere that the details of sea-level history since the Last Glacial Maximum vary considerably across the globe. The Australian region is relatively stable tectonically and is situated in the 'far-field' of former ice sheets. It therefore preserves important records of post-glacial sea levels that are less complicated by neo-tectonics or glacio-isostatic adjustments. Accordingly, the relative sea-level record of this region is dominantly one of glacio-eustatic (ice equivalent) sea-level changes. The broader Australasian region has provided critical information on the nature of post-glacial sea level, including the termination of the Last Glacial Maximum when sea level was approximately 125 m lower than present around 21,000-19,000 years BP, and insights into meltwater pulse 1A between 14,600 and 14,300 cal. yr BP. Although most parts of the Australian continent reveals a high degree of tectonic stability, research conducted since the 1970s has shown that the timing and elevation of a Holocene highstand varies systematically around its margin. This is attributed primarily to variations in the timing of the response of the ocean basins and shallow continental shelves to the increased ocean volumes following ice-melt, including a process known as ocean siphoning (i.e. glacio-hydro-isostatic adjustment processes). Several seminal studies in the early 1980s produced important data sets from the Australasian region that have provided a solid foundation for more recent palaeo-sea-level research. This review revisits these key studies emphasising their continuing influence on Quaternary research and incorporates relatively recent investigations to interpret the nature of post-glacial sea-level change around Australia. These include a synthesis of research from the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. A focus of these more recent studies has been the re-examination of: (1) the accuracy and reliability of different proxy sea-level indicators; (2) the rate and nature of post-glacial sea-level rise; (3) the evidence for timing, elevation, and duration of mid-Holocene highstands; and, (4) the notion of mid- to late Holocene sea-level oscillations, and their basis. Based on this synthesis of previous research, it is clear that estimates of past sea-surface elevation are a function of eustatic factors as well as morphodynamics of individual sites, the wide variety of proxy sea-level indicators used, their wide geographical range, and their indicative meaning. Some progress has been made in understanding the variability of the accuracy of proxy indicators in relation to their contemporary sea level, the inter-comparison of the variety of dating techniques used and the nuances of calibration of radiocarbon ages to sidereal years. These issues need to be thoroughly understood before proxy sea-level indicators can be incorporated into credible reconstructions of relative sea-level change at individual locations. Many of the issues, which challenged sea-level researchers in the latter part of the twentieth century, remain contentious today. Divergent opinions remain about: (1) exactly when sea level attained present levels following the most recent post-glacial marine transgression (PMT); (2) the elevation that sea-level reached during the Holocene sea-level highstand; (3) whether sea-level fell smoothly from a metre or more above its present level following the PMT: (4) whether sea level remained at these highstand levels for a considerable period before falling to its present position; or (5) whether it underwent a series of moderate oscillations during the Holocene highstand. Crown Copyright (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Quantitative reconstructions from biological proxies have revolutionised palaeolimnology but the methodology is not without problems. The most important of these result from attempts to reconstruct non-causal environmental variables and from the effects of secondary variables. Non-causal variables act as surrogates for often unknown or unquantified ecological factors and the method assumes that these relationships are invariant in space and time. This assumption is almost never met and examples of diatom models for water depth and summer temperature demonstrate how violation leads to spurious and misleading reconstructions. In addition, comparison of published species optima indicate that a number of models have little or no predictive power outside their current spatial setting. Finally, experiments using simulated training sets of known properties demonstrate how changes in secondary "nuisance" variables can lead to large, consistent, and interpretable trends in a reconstruction that are completely spurious and independent of any real change in the reconstructed variable. These problems pervade many quantitative reconstructions in palaeolimnology and other disciplines. Palaeoecologists must give greater attention to what can and cannot be reconstructed and explicitly address the dangers of reconstructing surrogate and confounded variables if our reconstructions are to remain credible. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Large-scale millennial length Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperature reconstructions have been progressively improved over the last 20 years as new datasets have been developed. This paper, and its companion (Part II, Anchukaitis et al. in prep), details the latest tree-ring (TR) based NH land air temperature reconstruction from a temporal and spatial perspective. This work is the first product of a consortium called N-TREND (Northern Hemisphere Tree-Ring Network Development) which brings together dendroclimatologists to identify a collective strategy for improving large-scale summer temperature reconstructions. The new reconstruction, N-TREND2015, utilises 54 records, a significant expansion compared with previous TR studies, and yields an improved reconstruction with stronger statistical calibration metrics. N-TREND2015 is relatively insensitive to the compositing method and spatial weighting used and validation metrics indicate that the new record portrays reasonable coherence with large scale summer temperatures and is robust at all time-scales from 918 to 2004 where at least 3 TR records exist from each major continental mass. N-TREND2015 indicates a longer and warmer medieval period (similar to 900 1170) than portrayed by previous TR NH reconstructions and by the CMIP5 model ensemble, but with better overall agreement between records for the last 600 years. Future dendroclimatic projects should focus on developing new long records from data-sparse regions such as North America and eastern Eurasia as well as ensuring the measurement of parameters related to latewood density to complement ring-width records which can improve local based calibration substantially. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
A complete and optimized scheme of lettered marine isotope substages spanning the last 1.0 million years is proposed. Lettered substages for Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 were explicitly defined by Shackleton (1969), but analogous substages before or after MIS 5 have not been coherently defined. Short-term discrete events in the isotopic record were defined in the 1980s and given decimal-style numbers, rather than letters, but unlike substages they were neither intended nor suited to identify contiguous intervals of time. Substages for time outside MIS 5 have been lettered, or in some cases numbered, piecemeal and with conflicting designations. We therefore propose a system of lettered substages that is complete, without missing substages, and optimized to match previous published usage to the maximum extent possible. Our goal is to provide order and unity to a taxonomy and nomenclature that has developed ad hoc and somewhat chaotically over the decades. Our system is defined relative to the LR04 stack of marine benthic oxygen isotope records, and thus it is grounded in a continuous record responsive largely to changes in ice volume that are inherently global. This system is intended specifically for marine oxygen isotope stages, but it has relevance also for oxygen isotope stages recognized in time-series of non-marine oxygen isotope data, and more generally for climatic stages, which are recognized in time-series of non-isotopic as well as isotopic data. The terms "stage" and "substage" in this context are best considered to represent climatostratigraphic units, and thus "climatic stages" and "climatic substages", because they are recognized from geochemical and sedimentary responses to climate change that may not have been synchronous at global scale. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Dating the timing of the replacement of local Neandertal populations by modern humans in western Eurasia at the dawn of the Upper Palaeolithic remains challenging due to the scarcity of the palaeontological evidence and to the complexity of the archaeological record. Furthermore, key specimens have been discovered in the course of excavations that unfortunately did not meet today's archaeological standards. The importance of site-formation processes in the considered time period makes it sometimes difficult to precisely assign fragmentary remains a posteriori to distinct techno-complexes. The improvements in dating methods have however allowed for the clarification of many chronological issues in the past decade. Archaeological and palaeontological evidence strongly suggest that the initial modern colonization of eastern Europe and central Asia should be related to the spread of techno-complexes assigned to the Initial Upper Palaeolithic. This first expansion may have started as early as 48 Ka cal BP. The earliest phases of the Aurignacian complex (Protoaurignacian and Early Aurignacian) seem to represent another modern wave of migrations, starting in the Levant area. The expansion of this technocomplex throughout Europe completed the modern colonization of the continent. The interpretation of a third group of industries referred to as "transitional assemblages" in western and central Europe is much debated. At least in part, these assemblages might have been produced by Neandertal groups that may have survived until c. 41 ka cal BP, according to the directly dated Neandertal specimens of Saint-Cesaire (France) and Spy (Belgium). (C) 2014 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Abstract Records of past climate variability and associated vegetation response exist in various regions throughout Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). To date, there has been no coherent synthesis of the existing palaeo-records. During an INTIMATE meeting (Cluj Napoca, Romania) focused on identifying CEE paleo-records, it was decided to address this gap by presenting the palaeo-community with a compilation of high-quality climatic and vegetation records for the past 60–8 ka. The compilation should also serve as a reference point for the use in the modelling community working towards the INTIMATE project goals, and in data-model inter-comparison studies. This paper is therefore a compilation of up to date, best available quantitative and semi-quantitative records of past climate and biotic response from CEE covering this period. It first presents the proxy and archive used. Speleothems and loess mainly provide the evidences available for the 60–20 ka interval, whereas pollen records provide the main source of information for the Lateglacial and Holocene. It then examines the temporal and spatial patterns of climate variability inferred from different proxies, the temporal and spatial magnitude of the vegetation responses inferred from pollen records and highlights differences and similarities between proxies and sub-regions and the possible mechanisms behind this variability. Finally, it identifies weakness in the proxies and archives and their geographical distribution. This exercise also provides an opportunity to reflect on the status of research in the area and to identify future critical areas and subjects of research.
The oxygen-isotope records from Greenland ice cores show a very strong, reproducible pattern of alternation between warm Greenland Interstadials (GI) and cold Greenland Stadials (GS) at millennial-scale during the last glacial period. Here we summarise what is known about this variability from ice core records. The typical cycle has a sawtooth pattern, with a very rapid warming event (occurring in a few decades), a slow cooling trend, and then a final fast cooling. 25 such events have been numbered in the last glacial. The recent GICC05 age scale provides the best available age scale that can be directly applied to this stratigraphy, and we summarise the timing of the warming events, and the length and strength of each event. The Greenland stratigraphy can be transferred to other records if we make assumptions about the contemporaneous nature of rapid events in different archives. Other parameters, such as the snow accumulation rate, and the concentration of terrestrial dust and sea salt recorded in the Greenland cores, also show a strong contrasting pattern between GI and GS. Methane concentrations are generally high during GI and lower during GS, with the increase from GS to GI occurring within a century. Antarctic ice cores show a different pattern: each GI has an Antarctic counterpart, but Antarctica appears to warm while Greenland is in a GS, and cool during GI. These changes are consistent with a mechanism involving ocean heat transport, but the rapid nature of warmings poses a challenge for modellers, while the rapid methane changes pose questions about the pattern of land biosphere emissions during the glacial that are also relevant for understanding glacial-interglacial methane variability. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
We synthesize existing sedimentary charcoal records to reconstruct Holocene fire history at regional, continental and global scales. The reconstructions are compared with the two potential controls of burning at these broad scales - changes in climate and human activities - to assess their relative importance on trends in biomass burning. Here we consider several hypotheses that have been advanced to explain the Holocene record of fire, including climate, human activities and synergies between the two. Our results suggest that 1) episodes of high fire activity were relatively common in the early Holocene and were consistent with climate changes despite low global temperatures and low levels of biomass burning globally; 2) there is little evidence from the paleofire record to support the Early Anthropocene Hypothesis of human modification of the global carbon cycle; 3) there was a nearly-global increase in fire activity from 3 to 2 lea that is difficult to explain with either climate or humans, but the widespread and synchronous nature of the increase suggests at least a partial climate forcing; and 4) burning during the past century generally decreased but was spatially variable; it declined sharply in many areas, but there were also large increases (e.g., Australia and parts of Europe). Our analysis does not exclude an important role for human activities on global biomass burning during the Holocene, but instead provides evidence for a pervasive influence of climate across multiple spatial and temporal scales. (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Investigating hydroclimatic changes during key periods such as the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA, 1000-1300 AD) and the Little Ice Age (LIA, 1400-1900 AD) is of fundamental importance for quantifying the responses of precipitation to greenhouse gas-induced warming on regional and global scales. This study synthesizes the most up-to-date and comprehensive proxy moisture/precipitation records during the past 1000 years in China and surroundings. The proxy data collected include 34 records from arid central Asia (ACA) and 37 records from monsoonal Asia. Our results demonstrate a pattern of generally coherent regional moisture variations during the MCA and LIA. In mid-latitude Asia north of 30 degrees N, monsoonal northern China (North China and Northeast China) was generally wetter, while ACA (Northwest China and Central Asia) was generally drier during the MCA than in the LIA (a West-East mode). The boundary between wetter northern China and drier ACA was roughly consistent with the modern summer monsoon boundary. In monsoonal China to the east of 105 degrees E, the northern part was generally wetter, while the southern part was generally drier during the MCA than in the LIA (a North-South mode), with a boundary roughly along the Huai River at about 34 degrees N. These spatial patterns of moisture/precipitation variations are also identified by instrumental data during the past 50 years. In order to understand the possible mechanisms related to the moisture variations during the MCA and LIA, we investigate the major SST and atmospheric modes (e.g. the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)) which affect the moisture/precipitation variations in the study region using both the instrumental data and the reconstructed time series. It is found that the ENSO may play an important role in determining hydroclimatic variability over China and surroundings on a multi-centennial time-scale; and that the foregoing spatial patterns could be attributed to the La Nina-like (El Nino-like) condition during the MCA (LIA). In addition, AMO and NAO may also have their own contributions. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
We synthesize palaeoclimate records from the mid-latitude arid Asian region dominated today by the Westerlies ("arid central Asia" (ACA)) to evaluate spatial and temporal patterns of moisture changes during the Holocene. Sediment records from I I takes with reliable chronologies and robust proxies were selected to reconstruct moisture histories based on a five-class ordinal wetness index with assigned scores from the driest to wettest periods at individual sites for 200-year time slices. The proxies used in these records include pollen and diatom assemblages, sediment lithology, lake levels, and geochemistry (mainly isotope) data. The results of our synthesis show that ACA as a whole experienced synchronous and coherent moisture changes during the Holocene, namely a dry early Holocene, a wetter (less dry) early to mid-Holocene, and a moderately wet late Holocene. During the early Holocene most of the lakes experienced very low water levels and even dried out before ca 8 ka (1 ka = 1000cal a BP). Hence the effective-moisture history in ACA is out-of-phase with that in monsoonal Asia as documented by numerous palaeoclimate records. In monsoonal Asia, a strong summer monsoon and humid climate characterized the early Holocene, and a weakened summer monsoon and drier climate prevailed during the late Holocene, which were mainly controlled by changes in low-latitude summer insolation. In contrast, we propose that the pattern of Holocene effective-moisture evolution in the westerly dominated ACA was mainly determined by North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) and high-latitude air temperatures that affect the availability, amount and transport of water vapor. Also, topography of the Tibetan Plateau and adjacent Asian highlands could have contributed to the intensification of dry climate in ACA during the early Holocene, as a result of strengthening the subsidence of dry air masses, associated with stronger uplift motion on the plateau by intense heating under a stronger summer insolation. Summer insolation might have played a key role in directly controlling moisture conditions in ACA but only after the northern hemisphere ice-sheets had disappeared in the mid- and late Holocene. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.