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Linking North Atlantic and Alpine last glacial maximum climates via a high-resolution pollen-based subarctic forest steppe record

Pini, R. ORCID:, Furlanetto, G. ORCID:, Vallé, F. ORCID:, Badino, F., Wick, L., Anselmetti, F. S. ORCID:, Bertuletti, P., Fusi, N., Morlock, M. A. ORCID:, Delmonte, B., Harrison, S. P. ORCID:, Maggi, V. and Ravazzi, C. (2022) Linking North Atlantic and Alpine last glacial maximum climates via a high-resolution pollen-based subarctic forest steppe record. Quaternary Science Reviews, 294. 107759. ISSN 0277-3791

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107759


During the last glaciation the Eurasian continent was impacted by the global reorganization of atmospheric circulation caused by North Atlantic events, through changes in moisture storm tracks modulated by orography. Our research explores the linkages between climate evolution in the North Atlantic and in the Alps between 30.6 and 12.5 ka, This period, centered on the Last Glacial Maximum, experienced the most recent phase of maximum global ice volume, corresponding to a millennia-long phase of sea-level lowstand, minima in reconstructed sea surface temperatures and isotopic values from polar ice. We present a high-resolution multiproxy record from Lake Fimon at the southern Alpine foothills, where a larch forest-steppe persisted throughout the coldest spells. We analyse the fine climate structure of the MIS 3e2 transition, of the Alpine Last Glacial Maximum stepped by HS2, and provide an unprecedented fine resolution and accurate 14C dating of the Last Glacial Maximum and the early Alpine Lateglacial. We reconstructed quantitative climate parameters based on sensitive pollen descriptors, and derived coregistered sedimentary proxies for dust flux. Reconstructed series suggest that extreme continental spells in the Alps and cold boreal winters match the timing of Heinrich Stadials 2 and 1, episodes of iceberg discharge and release of rock fragments (Ice Rafted Debris) in the North Atlantic. The initiation of the LGM at 27.3 ka is marked by a 4 C drop in July temperatures, likely responsible for the onset of glacial build-up in the Southern Alpine piedmont. The first extreme continental spell coincides with the BritishIrish-sourced IRD event at 26.2 ka and with glacier retreat in the Southern Alps, persisting in the subsequent HS2. Late Glacial glacier collapse and extreme drought occurred during the first half of the HS1, 17.4e16.2 ka. The comparison of the results obtained at Lake Fimon with other terrestrial Eurasian records and with recalibrated marine chronologies from the North Atlantic suggests in-phase reactions of the British-Irish Ice Sheet and of Alpine glaciers and ecosystems to changes in the Atlantic Meridional Circulation. Asymmetric ecoclimatic effects produced by North Atlantic events at the windward and leeward sides of the Alps confirm a southern provenance of moist air masses throughout the LGM.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:114109

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