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Holocene annual mean temperature changes in Estonia and their relationship to solar insolation and atmospheric circulation patterns

  • Heikki Seppä (a1) and Anneli Poska (a2)

We reconstructed annual mean temperature (T ann) trends from three radiocarbon-dated Holocene pollen stratigraphies from lake sediments in Estonia, northern Europe. The reconstructions were carried out using a North-European pollen-climate calibration model based on weighted averaging partial least-squares regression. The cross-validated prediction error of the model is 0.89°C and the coefficient of determination between observed modern T ann values and those predicted by the model is 0.88. In the reconstruction, the Holocene thermal maximum (HTM) is distinguishable at 8000–4500 cal yr B.P. with the expansion of thermophilous tree species and T ann on average 2.5°C higher than at present. The pollen-stratigraphical data reflect progressively warmer and drier summers during the HTM. Analogously with the modern decadal-scale climatic variability in North Europe, we interpret this as an indication of increasing climatic continentality due to the intensification of anticyclonic circulation and meridional air flow. Post-HTM cooling started abruptly at around 4500 cal yr B.P. All three reconstructions show a transient (ca. 300 years) cooling of 1.5–2.0°C at 8600–8000 cal yr B.P. We tentatively correlate this cold event with the North-Atlantic “8.2 ka event” at 8400–8000 cal yr B.P. Provided that the 8.2 ka event was caused by freshening of the North-Atlantic surface water, our data provide evidence of the climatic and vegetational responsiveness of the boundary of the temperate and boreal zones to the weakening of the North-Atlantic thermohaline circulation and the zonal energy transport over Europe. No other cold events of comparable magnitude are indicated during the last 8000 years.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Current address: Department of Geology, P.O. Box 64, FIN-00014, University of Helsinki, Finland.E-mail address: Seppa).
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