Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
16 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).
Historical Climate off the Atlantic Iberian Peninsula
Fátima Abrantes1,2, Teresa Rodrigues1,2, Marta Rufino2,3, Emília Salgueiro1,2, Dulce Oliveira1,2,4, Sandra Gomes1, Paulo Oliveira1, Ana Costa5, Mário Mil-Homens1, Teresa Drago1,6, and Filipa Naughton1,2 1Portuguese Institute for the Ocean and Atmosphere (IPMA), Divisão de Geologia Marinha (DivGM), Rua Alferedo Magalhães Ramalho 6, Lisboa, Portugal
2CCMAR, Centro de Ciências do Mar, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
3IFREMER – Centre Atlantique (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, Département Ecologie et Modèles pour l'Halieutique (EMH), Rue de l'Ile d'Yeu – BP 21105, 44311 Nantes cedex 3, France
4Univ. Bordeaux, EPOC, UMR 5805, F-33615 Pessac, France
5Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genétics (EnvArchCIBIO/InBIO) and Archaeosciences Laboratory (LARC/DGPC), Rua da Bica do Marquês, 2, 1300-087, Lisboa, Portugal
6Instituto Dom Luiz, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
Abstract. The Iberian Peninsula, at North Atlantic mid-latitude and the western extreme of the European continent, is a key point for climate reconstructions. This work provides multi-proxy records measured in 8 inner-shelf sediment cores from 5 sites located between South Portugal (Algarve) and Northwest Spain (Galiza) (36 to 41º N) and target a regional reconstruction of climate variability during the Historic period (last 2 ky).

The SST records reveal a long-term scale cooling (±1 ºC/2 ky) that ends at the beginning of the 20th century at all latitudes. This cooling is a follow up of the cooling process that started in the early Holocene driven by a decrease in summer insolation in the Northern Hemisphere.

Within this long term SST variability multi-decadal/centennial scale variability is detected along Iberia. The different latitudinal SST reconstructions jointly with a determined regional SST stack were compared to on-land precipitation from higher plant n-alkanes and pollen data, to assess the relationship between hydroclimate (drought and/or precipitation) and SST. Regional variability is overall in consonance with NE Spain, and other European and north Hemisphere reconstructions. Warm conditions prevailed throughout 1300 yr, encompassing the Roman Period (RP), the Dark Ages (DA) and the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). The initial cooling at 1300 CE leads to 4 centuries of ±1 ºC colder mean SSTs contemporaneous with the Little Ice Age (LIA). The transition towards the Industrial Era starts by 1800 CE with a rise to pre-LIA SSTs. Climate specificities have been detected in western Iberian margin records and reveal the existence of two distinct phases within the MWP and a two-step SST increase towards the Industrial Era. The intense precipitation/flooding and warm winters but cooler intermediate seasons observed for the early MWP imply the interplay of internal oceanic variability with the three known atmospheric circulation modes, AMO, EA and SCAND in a positive phase. The late MWP, typified by drier and cooler winters and warmer intermediate seasons calls for a change in sign of the SCAND. A stronger mark of oceanic influences on western Iberian Peninsula (IP) starts with the transition to the Industrial Era.

Citation: Abrantes, F., Rodrigues, T., Rufino, M., Salgueiro, E., Oliveira, D., Gomes, S., Oliveira, P., Costa, A., Mil-Homens, M., Drago, T., and Naughton, F.: Historical Climate off the Atlantic Iberian Peninsula, Clim. Past Discuss., doi:10.5194/cp-2017-39, in review, 2017.
Fátima Abrantes et al.
Fátima Abrantes et al.
Fátima Abrantes et al.


Total article views: 478 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)

HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
236 219 23 478 1 23

Views and downloads (calculated since 16 Mar 2017)

Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 16 Mar 2017)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 478 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)

Thereof 474 with geography defined and 4 with unknown origin.

Country # Views %
  • 1



Latest update: 26 Apr 2017
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This work presents proxy reconstructions of the last 2000 yr climatic conditions along the eastern Margin of the Iberian Peninsula, a vulnerable region regarding current global warming. Sea Surface Temperature shows a long-term cooling ending with the 19th century, and centennial scale variability that exposes 1300 yr of warm conditions, up to the end of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), followed by a 1 ºC colder Little Ice Age. The Industrial Era starts by 1800 CE with a rise to MWP values.
This work presents proxy reconstructions of the last 2000 yr climatic conditions along the...