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Ecohydrological feedbacks confound peat-based climate reconstructions


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Swindles, G. T., Morris, P. J., Baird, A. J., Blaauw, M. and Plunkett, G. (2012) Ecohydrological feedbacks confound peat-based climate reconstructions. Geophysical Research Letters, 39. L11401. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2012GL051500


Water-table reconstructions from Holocene peatlands are increasingly being used as indicators of terrestrial palaeoclimate in many regions of the world. However, the links between peatland water tables, climate, and long-term peatland development are poorly understood. Here we use a combination of high-resolution proxy climate data and a model of long-term peatland development to examine the relationship between rapid hydrological fluctuations in peatlands and climatic forcing. We show that changes in water-table depth can occur independently of climate forcing. Ecohydrological feedbacks inherent in peatland development can lead to a degree of homeostasis that partially disconnects peatland water-table behaviour from external climatic influences. We conclude by suggesting that further work needs to be done before peat-based climate reconstructions can be used to test climate models.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:29135
Additional Information:This article has been highlighted in the following review article (see link in 'Related URLs'): Bhattacharya, A. (2012), Peat-based climate reconstructions run into murky waters?, Eos Trans. AGU, 93(30), 298, doi:10.1029/2012EO300026
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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