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Holocene-late pleistocene high resolution climate reconstruction from continental carbonates

Objective

To reconstruct, along a NW-SE traverse across Europe, a high
resolution palaeotemperature record from U-Th dated continental
carbonates (cave and pedogenic carbonates), in the time interval
since the last glacial maximum (18 kyr to present). To
investigate the influence of the North Atlantic ocean on the
timing and rate at which climatic deterioration and amelioration
has occurred in different regions of Europe. To evaluate the
response of the European terrestrial biota to palaeotemperature
variations.


The study will focus on cave deposits from Ireland, Great
Britain, Belgium and Italy. Cave carbonates (speleothems) will
be dated to a precision of pm 1\% using mass-spectrometric
U-series
techniques. Stable isotope ratios (delta 18O and
delta 13C) and trace
element concentrations (Mg, Sr, Na, K, Mn) will be determined
along their axes at 1mm intervals, to construct high-resolution
time-series profiles.

Luminescence techniques will be employed to decipher the annual
growth bands present in many speleothems, and these will allow
(i) precise checking of the U-series chronology, (ii) very high
resolution (pm 1 year) reconstruction of mean annual
temperatures
over short (100-1000) year intervals, (iii) reconstruction of
variations in summer-length and plant productivity from the width
and intensity of the luminescent bands and (iv) reconstruction of
fluctuations in the width of annual bands and therefore mean
annual precipitation rates. Where available, soil carbonates
will also be dated and analysed for stable isotopes to provide
complementary information about discrete climatic events.

Trace element concentrations will also be determined in the cave
seepage waters and actively growing soda-straws using ICP-MS to
calibrate temperature dependent trace element partitioning
between calcite and seepage water. Present-day conditions and
seas onal variations in air temperature, relative humidity and
seepage-water conductivity will be monitored at each of the cave
sites using automated data-loggers to construct transfer
functions.

The study will provide, at a time resolution hitherto
unattainable, data for continental palaeotemperature and
palaeoprecipitation in order to test and validate the next
generation of improved resolution general circulation models
(GCMs).

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

University College Dublin
Address
Belfield
4 Dublin
Ireland

Participants (7)

MUSEO TRIDENTINO DI SCIENZE NATURALI
Italy
Address
Via Calepina 14
393 Trento
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL
United Kingdom
Address
Nicker Hill, Keyworth
NG12 5GG Keyworth,nottingham
Open University
United Kingdom
Address
Walton Hall
MK7 6AA Milton Keynes
Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht
Netherlands
Address
4,Princetonlaan
3508 TA Utrecht
UNIVERSITY OF KEELE
United Kingdom
Address
Keele University
ST5 5BG Staffordshire
Università degli Studi di Trieste
Italy
Address

34140 Trieste
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Belgium
Address
Pleinlaan
1050 Bruxelles