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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 May 2018

Research article | 03 May 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Vegetation and geochemical responses to Holocene rapid climate change in Sierra Nevada (SE Iberia): The Laguna Hondera record

Jose Manuel Mesa-Fernández1,2, Gonzalo Jiménez-Moreno1, Marta Rodrigo-Gámiz2, Antonio García-Alix1,2, Francisco J. Jiménez-Espejo3, Francisca Martínez-Ruiz2, R. Scott Anderson4, Jon Camuera1, and María J. Ramos-Román1 Jose Manuel Mesa-Fernández et al.
  • 1Departamento de Estratigrafía y Paleontología, Universidad de Granada (UGR), Avda. Fuente Nueva s/n, 18002, Granada, Spain
  • 2Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (IACT), CSIC-UGR, Avenida de las Palmeras 4, 18100, Armilla, Granada, Spain
  • 3Department of Biogeochemistry (JAMSTEC), Yokosuka, Japan
  • 4School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Abstract. High-altitude peat bogs and lacustrine records are very sensitive to climate changes and atmospheric pollution. Recent studies show a close relationship between regional climate aridity and enhanced eolian input to lake sediments. However, changes in regional-scale dust fluxes due to climate variability at short-scales and how alpine environments were impacted by climatic- and human-induced environmental changes are not completely understood. Here we present a multi-proxy lake sediment record of climate variability in the Sierra Nevada (SE Iberian Peninsula) over the Holocene. Palynological, geochemical and magnetic susceptibility (MS) proxies obtained from the high mountain lake record of Laguna Hondera (LH) evidence humid conditions during the Early Holocene, while a trend towards more arid conditions is recognized since ~7000cal yr BP, with enhanced Saharan eolian dust deposition until Present. This trend towards enhanced arid conditions was modulated by millennial-scale climate variability. Relative humid conditions occurred during the Iberian Roman Humid Period (2600–1450cal yr BP) and predominantly arid conditions occurred during the Dark Ages and the Medieval Climate Anomaly (1450–650cal yr BP). The Little Ice Age (650–150cal yr BP) is characterized in the LH record by an increase in runoff and a minimum in eolian input. In addition, human impact in the area is noticed through the record of Olea cultivation, Pinus reforestation and Pb pollution during the Industrial Period (150cal yr BP-present). Furthermore, a unique feature preserved at LH is the correlation between Zr and Ca, two important elements of Saharan dust source in Sierra Nevada lake records. This supports that present day biochemical observations, pointing to eolian input as main inorganic nutrient source for oligotrophic mountain lakes, are comparable to the past record of eolian supply to these high-altitude lakes.

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Jose Manuel Mesa-Fernández et al.
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