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Tracing winter temperatures over the last two millennia using a north-east Atlantic coastal record

Journal article
Authors Irina Polovodova Asteman
H. L. Filipsson
Kjell Nordberg
Published in Climate of the Past
Volume 14
Issue 7
Pages 1097-1118
ISSN 1814-9324
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of marine sciences
Pages 1097-1118
Language en
Keywords swedish west-coast, stained benthic foraminifera, oxygen-isotope, fractionation, radiocarbon age calibration, medieval warm period, late-holocene, gullmar fjord, climate variability, ice-age, thermohaline, circulation, Geology, Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
Subject categories Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Geology


We present 2500 years of reconstructed bottom water temperatures (BWT) using a fjord sediment archive from the north-east Atlantic region. The BWT represent winter conditions due to the fjord hydrography and the associated timing and frequency of bottom water renewals. The study is based on a ca. 8 m long sediment core from Gullmar Fjord (Sweden), which was dated by Pb-210 and AMS C-14 and analysed for stable oxygen isotopes (delta O-18) measured on shallow infaunal benthic foraminiferal species Cassidulina laevigata d'Orbigny 1826. The BWT, calculated using the palaeotemperature equation from McCorkle et al. (1997), range between 2.7 and 7.8 degrees C and are within the annual temperature variability that has been instrumentally recorded in the deep fjord basin since the 1890s. The record demonstrates a warming during the Roman Warm Period (similar to 350 BCE-450 CE), variable BWT during the Dark Ages (similar to 450-850 CE), positive BWT anomalies during the Viking Age/Medieval Climate Anomaly (similar to 850-1350 CE) and a long-term cooling with distinct multidecadal variability during the Little Ice Age (similar to 1350-1850 CE). The fjord BWT record also picks up the contemporary warming of the 20th century (presented here until 1996), which does not stand out in the 2500-year perspective and is of the same magnitude as the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Climate Anomaly.

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