Abrupt climate changes during Termination III in Southern Europe

Carlos Pérez-Mejías, Ana Moreno, Carlos Sancho, Miguel Bartolomé, Heather Stoll, Isabel Cacho, Hai Cheng, R. Lawrence Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The Late Quaternary glacial–interglacial transitions represent the highest amplitude climate changes over the last million years. Unraveling the sequence of events and feedbacks at Termination III (T-III), including potential abrupt climate reversals similar to those of the last Termination, has been particularly challenging due to the scarcity of well-dated records worldwide. Here, we present speleothem data from southern Europe covering the interval from 262.7 to 217.9 kyBP, including the transition from marine isotope stage (MIS) 8 to MIS 7e. High-resolution δ13C, δ18O, and Mg/Ca profiles reveal major millennial-scale changes in aridity manifested in changing water availability and vegetation productivity. uranium–thorium dates provide a solid chronology for two millennial-scale events (S8.1 and S8.2) which, compared with the last two terminations, has some common features with Heinrich 1 and Heinrich 2 in Termination I (T-I).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10047-10052
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 19 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. This work is a contribution of Geomorfología y Cambio Global and PaleoQ (IUCA) research groups (Aragón Government). We are grateful to Yanbin Lu for helping during the dating process, Ana Méndez for useful advice during stable isotope analysis, Joaquin Perona for the analyses of isotopes on calcite samples, Penélope González-Sampériz for pollen diagram interpretation, and to all the people who helped during field work and sampling in the IPE-CSIC laboratory. We acknowledge a Government of Aragón predoctoral research grant and the CTM2013-48639-C2-2-R (OPERA) and CGL2016-77479-R (SPYRIT) projects for funding, and partial support from NSF AGS 1702816 to R.L.E. and H.C. We thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for detailed comments and constructive criticism, which resulted in improvements to the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Stable isotopes
  • Stadial event
  • Stalagmite
  • Terminations


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