Holocene temperature variations at a high-altitude site in the Eastern Alps: a chironomid record from Schwarzsee ob Sölden, Austria

Ilyashuk, Elena A. and Koinig, Karin A. and Heiri, Oliver and Ilyashuk, Boris P. and Psenner, Roland. (2011) Holocene temperature variations at a high-altitude site in the Eastern Alps: a chironomid record from Schwarzsee ob Sölden, Austria. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30 (1-2). pp. 176-191.

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Few well-dated, quantitative Holocene temperature reconstructions exist from high-altitude sites in the Central Eastern Alps. Here, we present a chironomid-based quantitative reconstruction of mean July air temperatures (T-July) throughout the Holocene for a remote high-mountain lake, Schwarzsee ob Solden, situated above the treeline at 2796 m a.s.l. in the Austrian Alps. Applying a chironomid-temperature inference model developed from lakes of the Alpine region to a high-resolution chironomid record from the lake provides evidence for early Holocene (ca 10000-8600 cal yr BP) T-July of up to 8.5 degrees C i.e. >4 degrees C above the modern (1977-2006) mean July temperature. The reconstruction reveals the so-called '8.2-ka cold event' centered at ca 8250-8000 cal yr BP with temperatures ca 3 degrees C below the early-Holocene thermal maximum. Rather warm (ca 6 degrees C) and productive conditions prevailed during ca 7900-4500 cal yr BP. The chironomid record suggests a climate transition between ca 5200 and 4500 cal yr BP to cooler T-July. A distinct cooling trend is evident from ca 4500 until ca 2500 cal yr BP. Thereafter, the study site experienced its coldest conditions (around 4 degrees C or less) throughout the rest of the Holocene, with the exception of the warming trend during the late 20th century. Beside other factors, the Northern Hemisphere summer insolation seems to be the major driving force for the long-term trends in T-July at high altitudes in the Eastern Alps. Due to the extreme location of the lake and the limited temperature range represented by the applied calibration data set, the chironomid-based temperature reconstruction fails to track phases of the late-Holocene climatic history with T-July cooler than 4 degrees C. Further chironomid-based palaeoclimate model and down-core studies are required to address this problem, provide more realistic T-July estimates from undisturbed high-altitude lakes in the Alps, and extract a reliable regional temperature signal.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Geoökologie (Heiri)
UniBasel Contributors:Heiri, Oliver
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:30 Nov 2020 14:01
Deposited On:30 Nov 2020 14:01

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