Northern Iberian abrupt climate change dynamics during the last glacial cycle: A view from lacustrine sediments

Ana Moreno, Penélope González-Sampériz, Mario Morellón, Blas L. Valero-Garcés, William J. Fletcher

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119 Scopus citations


We present a palaeoclimatic reconstruction of the last glacial cycle in Iberia (ca. 120,000-11,600. cal yrs BP) based on multi-proxy reconstructions from lake sediments with robust chronologies, and with a particular focus on abrupt climate changes. The selected lake sequences provide an integrated approach from northern Iberia exploring temperature conditions, humidity variations and land-sea comparisons during the most relevant climate transitions of the last glacial period. Thus, we present evidence that demonstrates: (i) cold but relatively humid conditions during the transition from MIS 5 to MIS 4, which prevailed until ca. 60,000. cal yrs BP in northern Iberia; (ii) a general tendency towards greater aridity during MIS 4 and MIS 3 (ca 60,000 to 23,500. cal yrs BP) punctuated by abrupt climate changes related to Heinrich Events (HE), (iii) a complex, highly variable climate during MIS 2 (23,500 to 14,600. cal yrs BP) with the " Mystery Interval" (MI: 18,500 to 14,600. cal yrs BP) and not the global Last Glacial Maximum (LGM: 23,000 to 19,000. cal yrs BP) as the coldest and most arid period. The last glacial transition starts in synchrony with Greenland ice records at 14,600. cal yrs BP but the temperature increase was not so abrupt in the Iberian records and the highest humidity was attained during the Allerød (GI-1a to GI-1c) and not during the Bølling (GI-1e) period. The Younger Dryas event (GS-1) is discernible in northern Iberian lake records as a cold and dry interval, although Iberian vegetation records present a geographically variable signal for this interval, perhaps related to vegetation resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - Mar 12 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The funding for this study mainly derives from LIMNOCLIBER ( REN2003-09130-C02-02 ), LIMNOCAL ( CGL2006-13327-C04-01 ), GRACCIE-CONSOLIDER ( CSD2007-00067 ) and DINAMO ( CGL2009-07992 ) projects, provided by the Spanish Inter-Ministry Commission of Science and Technology (CICYT), and the VILLARQUEMADO ( P196/2005 ) project from the Aragón Regional Government (DGA). A. Moreno acknowledges the funding from the “Ramón y Cajal” postdoctoral program. We are grateful to M a Paz Errea for his help with Fig 1 and to Juana Vegas (IGME, Madrid, Spain), Mayte Rico (IPE-CSIC, Zaragoza, Spain), Lucia de Abreu (Cambridge University, UK), and Jaume Frigola and Isabel Cacho (UB, Barcelona, Spain) for kindly providing their data. We are indebt to the organizers of INTIMATE meeting in Oxford (September 2008) where the ideas for this study originated.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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