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Spatiotemporal evolution of the hydrological cycle throughout the European continent during past abrupt climate changes

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - STEEPclim (Spatiotemporal evolution of the hydrological cycle throughout the European continent during past abrupt climate changes)

Reporting period: 2018-08-01 to 2020-01-31

The main aim of STEEPclim is to better constrain the regional impact of global climate (temperature) change on the hydrological cycle. Specifically, we use a period of abrupt temperature change in Earth history, the transition from the last Glacial to the Holocene between 13.000 and 10.000 years ago as an example of abrupt climatic change. During this period several major and abrupt temperature changes are recorded in the Greenland icecores, resulting in major environmental and ecosystem changes over continental Europe.
We investigate, how fast and how strongly these temperature changes cascaded into hydrological, environmental and ecosystem changes at 10+ locations covering Europe from northern Norway to southern Italy and southern Spain to northern Poland. The identification of spatial patterns and temporal leads and lags enables us to identify mechanisms of hydrological change, test the predictions of climate models and to identify particularly vulnerable regions to hydroclimatic changes.
The project started on August 1 2015. The scientific work in the first period of STEEPclim followed the objectives stated in the proposal. I consider the project to be on track, we were able to significantly increase the density of our reconstructions.
The scientific progress is reported below structured by work packages (WP). Here I give the main achievements, more detail can be found under 1.1

WP1: We have now generated paleoclimate records from 8 lakes (10 were planned until the end of the project) and increased the number of sites to 19, significantly increasing the spatial coverage of our network.

WP2: A model to quantify hydrological reconstructions (DUB model) has been developed, work is published.

WP3: Initial analysis of spatial and temporal patterns of climate change during the Late Glacial has begun, we are investigating the causes of the patterns we observe along an E-W gradient from W Germany to N Poland.
We have now developed and applied a model which predicts quantitative data (i.e. changes in relative humidity) from our biomarker data (published in Rach et al. 2017). This model is the interpretative base for all sites and will be applied in the next phase to a number of records, enabling the spatiotemporal comparison of our reconstruction to model results and as such identify driving mechanisms of Late Glacial abrupt climate change.