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Palaeoclimate records 60-8 ka in the Austrian and Swiss Alps and their forelands
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2014 (English)In: Quaternary Science Reviews, ISSN 0277-3791, E-ISSN 1873-457X, Vol. 106, 186-205 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The European Alps and their forelands provide a range of different archives and climate proxies for developing climate records in the time interval 60-8 thousand years (ka) ago. We review quantitative and semi-quantitative approaches for reconstructing climatic variables in the Austrian and Swiss sector of the Alpine region within this time interval. Available quantitative to semi-quantitative climate records in this region are mainly based on fossil assemblages of biota such as chironomids, cladocerans, co-leopterans, diatoms and pollen preserved in lake sediments and peat, the analysis of oxygen isotopes in speleothems and lake sediment records, the reconstruction of past variations in treeline altitude, the reconstruction of past equilibrium line altitude and extent of glaciers based on geomorphological evidence, and the interpretation of past soil formation processes, dust deposition and permafrost as apparent in loess-palaeosol sequences. Palaeoclimate reconstructions in the Alpine region are affected by dating uncertainties increasing with age, the fragmentary nature of most of the available records, which typically only incorporate a fraction of the time interval of interest, and the limited replication of records within and between regions. Furthermore, there have been few attempts to cross-validate different approaches across this time interval to confirm reconstructed patterns of climatic change by several independent lines of evidence. Based on our review we identify a number of developments that would provide major advances for palaeoclimate reconstruction for the period 60-8 ka in the Alps and their forelands. These include (1) the compilation of individual, fragmentary records to longer and continuous reconstructions, (2) replication of climate records and the development of regional reconstructions for different parts of the Alps, (3) the cross-validation of different proxy-types and approaches, and (4) the reconstruction of past variations in climate gradients across the Alps and their forelands. Furthermore, the development of downscaled climate model runs for the Alpine region 60-8 ka, and of forward modelling approaches for climate proxies would expand the opportunities for quantitative assessments of climatic conditions in Europe within this time-interval.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 106, 186-205 p.
Keyword [en]
Palaeoclimate, Quaternary climate change, Climate reconstruction, Switzerland, Austria, Alps
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113967DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.05.021ISI: 000348010900013OAI: diva2:789811


Available from: 2015-02-20 Created: 2015-02-16 Last updated: 2015-02-20Bibliographically approved

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Preusser, Frank
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Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology
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