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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 4.0 License.
Research article
27 Jun 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Climate of the Past (CP) and is expected to appear here in due course.
The Climate of the Common Era off the 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-Homes1, 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 relevant area for climate reconstructions. This work provides multi-proxy records measured in 7 inner-shelf sediment sequences from 5 sites located between South Portugal (Algarve) and Northwest Spain (Galiza) (36 to 42º N) and targets a regional reconstruction of climate variability during the last 2000 yr.

Alkenone derived Sea Surface Temperature (SST) reconstructions were compared to on-land precipitation given by higher plant n-alkanes and pollen data, to assess the relationship between hydroclimate (drought and/or precipitation) and oceanic SST.

The SST records reveal a long-term scale cooling (±1 ºC/2000 yr) that ends at the beginning of the 20th century at all sites. This cooling is a follow up of the cooling process started after the Holocene optimum and driven by a decrease in summer insolation in the Northern Hemisphere. A multi-decadal/ centennial variability is detected within this long-term cooling in convergence with other records from Spain, Europe and the Northern Hemisphere.

Warm SST conditions prevailed throughout the first 1300 yr, encompassing the Roman Period (RP), the Dark Ages (DA) and the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). A cooling initiated at 1300 CE, led to 4 centuries of ±1 ºC colder mean SSTs contemporary with the Little Ice Age (LIA). The transition towards the Industrial Era starts by 1800 CE with a SST rise to pre-LIA levels. Particular climate conditions have been detected in Western Iberian margin records and reveal 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 (spring and fall) observed for the early MWP imply the interplay of internal oceanic variability with the three atmospheric circulation modes, North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), East Atlantic (EA) and Sandinavia (SCAND) in a positive phase. The late MWP, marked 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 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-Homes, M., Drago, T., and Naughton, F.: The Climate of the Common Era off the Iberian Peninsula, Clim. Past Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Fátima Abrantes et al.
Fátima Abrantes et al.


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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...