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Mean July Temperatures during the Younger Dryas in Northwestern and Central Europe as Inferred from Climate Indicator Plant Species

  • René F.B. Isarin (a1) and Sjoerd J.P. Bohncke (a1)
Abstract

We estimated minimum mean July temperatures in northwestern and central Europe during the Younger Dryas (10,950–10,15014C yr B.P.) from distributions of climate indicator plant species, which were reconstructed from 140 pollen and plant macrofossil diagrams. Paleobotanical records, mainly from the central and eastern part of the study area, show that the coldest conditions occurred early in the Younger Dryas (before ∼10,55014C yr B.P.). For this phase, mean July temperatures at sea level of around 10°C are suggested for the northern part of the British Isles and for ice-free Scandinavia. We estimated a mean July temperature of 12°C for central England, The Netherlands, and northern Germany. The 13°C mean July isotherm—largely based on the modern distribution ofTypha latifolia—was most probably located in southern England, Belgium, central Germany, and Poland. The reappearance of thermophilous elements in the records after ∼10,55014C yr B.P. suggests a summer warming, at least temporarily, of 1° to 2°C in the study area. The reconstructed temperatures are comparable with temperature estimates based on beetle data. However, they appear rather high when compared with estimates based on glaciological evidence.

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