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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 6, issue 6
Clim. Past, 6, 795–805, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Clim. Past, 6, 795–805, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  15 Dec 2010

15 Dec 2010

The Impact of the Little Ice Age on Coccolithophores in the Central Mediterranea Sea

A. Incarbona1, P. Ziveri2, E. Di Stefano1, F. Lirer3, G. Mortyn2,4, B. Patti5, N. Pelosi3, M. Sprovieri5, G. Tranchida5, M. Vallefuoco3, S. Albertazzi6, L. G. Bellucci6, A. Bonanno5, S. Bonomo7, P. Censi8, L. Ferraro3, S. Giuliani6, S. Mazzola5, and R. Sprovieri1 A. Incarbona et al.
  • 1Università degli Studi di Palermo, Dipartimento di Geologia e Geodesia, Via Archirafi 22, 90123 Palermo, Italy
  • 2Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Edifici Cn Campus de la UAB, 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona, Spain
  • 3Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero, Calata Porta di Massa, Interno Porto di Napoli, 80133, Naples, Italy
  • 4Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Department of Geography, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
  • 5Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero U.O. Capo Granitola, Via del Mare 3, 91021 Torretta Granitola (Campobello di Mazara, Trapani), Italy
  • 6Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto Scienze Marine (Sezione di Geologia Marina), Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
  • 7Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Institute of Biomedicine and Molecular Immunology (A. Monroy), Via La Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, Italy
  • 8Università degli Studi di Palermo, Dipartimento di Fisica e Chimica della Terra (CFTA), Via Archirafi 36, 90123 Palermo, Italy

Abstract. The Little Ice Age (LIA) is the last episode of a series of Holocene climatic anomalies. There is still little knowledge on the response of the marine environment to the pronounced cooling of the LIA and to the transition towards the 20th century global warming. Here we present decadal-scale coccolithophore data from four short cores recovered from the central Mediterranean Sea (northern Sicily Channel and Tyrrhenian Sea), which on the basis of 210Pb activity span the last 200–350 years. The lowermost part of the record of one of the cores from the Sicily Channel, Station 407, which extends down to 1650 AD, is characterized by drastic changes in productivity. Specifically, below 1850 AD, the decrease in abundance of F. profunda and the increase of placoliths, suggest increased productivity. The chronology of this change is related to the main phase of the Little Ice Age, which might have impacted the hydrography of the southern coast of Sicily and promoted vertical mixing in the water column. The comparison with climatic forcings points out the importance of stronger and prolonged northerly winds, together with decreased solar irradiance.

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