1CNRS/UVSQ/CEA – UMR8212, LSCE, Gif sur Yvette, France
2CNRS – UMR5059 CNRS, CBAE-centre de Bio-Archéologie et d'Ecologie, Montpellier, France
3CNRS – UMR6249 CNRS, Laboratoire Chrono-Environnement, Besançon, France
4CNRS – UMR8217, Géosystèmes, Université Lille 1, France
5Department of Geography, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, 53706, USA
6School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
7Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale, Università "La Sapienza", Roma, Italy
8CNRS – UMR8148, IDES, Département des Sciences de la Terre, Université Paris Sud, Orsay, France
Abstract. To understand the effects of future climate change on the ecology of the central Mediterranean we can look to the impacts of long-term, millennial to centennial-scale climatic variability on vegetation in the basin. Pollen data from the Adriatic Marine core MD 90-917 allows us to reconstruct vegetation and regional climate changes over the south central Mediterranean during the Holocene. Clay mineral ratios from the same core reflect the relative contributions of riverine (illite and smectite) and eolian (kaolinite) contributions to the site, and thus act as an additional proxy with which to test precipitation changes in the Holocene.
Vegetation reconstruction shows vegetation responses to the late-Glacial Preboreal oscillation, most likely driven by changes in seasonal precipitation. Pollen-inferred temperature declines during the early-mid Holocene, but increases during the mid-late Holocene, similar to southern-western Mediterranean climatic patterns during the Holocene. Several short climatic events appear in the record, indicating the sensitivity of vegetation in the region to millennial-scale variability.
Reconstructed summer precipitation shows a regional maximum between 8000 and 7000 cal yr BP similar to the general pattern across southern Europe. Two important shifts in vegetation occur at 7700 and between 7500 and 7000 yr. These vegetation shifts are linked to changes in seasonal precipitation and are correlated to increased river inputs respectively from the north (7700 event) and from the central Adriatic borderlands (7500–7000 event). These results reinforce the strengths of multi-proxy analysis and provide a deeper understanding of the role of precipitation and particularly the seasonality of precipitation in mediating vegetation change in the central Mediterranean during the Holocene.