Late Holocene climate variability in the southwestern Mediterranean region: an integrated marine and terrestrial geochemical approach
Abstract. A combination of marine (Alboran Sea cores, ODP 976 and TTR 300 G) and terrestrial (Zoñar Lake, Andalucia, Spain) geochemical proxies provides a high-resolution reconstruction of climate variability and human influence in the southwestern Mediterranean region for the last 4000 years at inter-centennial resolution. Proxies respond to changes in precipitation rather than temperature alone. Our combined terrestrial and marine archive documents a succession of dry and wet periods coherent with the North Atlantic climate signal. A dry period occurred prior to 2.7 cal ka BP – synchronously to the global aridity crisis of the third-millennium BC – and during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (1.4–0.7 cal ka BP). Wetter conditions prevailed from 2.7 to 1.4 cal ka BP. Hydrological signatures during the Little Ice Age are highly variable but consistent with more humidity than the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Additionally, Pb anomalies in sediments at the end of the Bronze Age suggest anthropogenic pollution earlier than the Roman Empire development in the Iberian Peninsula. The Late Holocene climate evolution of the in the study area confirms the see-saw pattern between the eastern and western Mediterranean regions and the higher influence of the North Atlantic dynamics in the western Mediterranean.