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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-33
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-33
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 28 Mar 2019

Research article | 28 Mar 2019

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

Quantitative reconstruction of precipitation changes in the Iberian Peninsula during the Late Pleistocene and the Holocene

Liisa Ilvonen1,2, José Antonio López-Sáez3, Lasse Holmström4, Francisca Alba-Sánchez5, Sebastián Pérez-Díaz3, José S. Carrión6, and Heikki Seppä1 Liisa Ilvonen et al.
  • 1Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Instituto de Historia, CSIC, c/ Albasanz, 26-28. 28037 Madrid, Spain
  • 4Research Unit of Mathematical Sciences University of Oulu, P.O.Box 8000, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland
  • 5Department of Botany, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
  • 6Department of Plant Biology, Faculty of Biology, University of Murcia, 30100 Espinardo, Murcia, Spain

Abstract. Precipitation is a key climate driver of vegetation and ecosystems of the Iberian Peninsula. Here, we use a regional pollen-climate calibration model and fossil pollen data from seven sites from different parts of Spain to provide quantitative reconstructions of annual precipitation values for the last 15 000 years. Our records show that in the Late Pleistocene (~ 15 000 to 11 600 cal yr BP) precipitation changes took place markedly in tune with the temperature trends in northern Europe, with higher precipitation during the Greenland interstadial 1 (Bølling-Allerød) and lower precipitation during the Greenland stadial 1 (Younger Dryas). The early Holocene was characterized by a rapid precipitation increase after 11 600 cal yr BP, followed by a slowly declining trend until roughly 8000 cal yr BP. From 8000 to 4000 cal yr BP the reconstructed precipitation values are the highest in most records, with maximum values nearly 100 % higher that the modern reconstructed values. The results suggest a gradually declining precipitation over the last four millennia, although the late-Holocene reconstructions are biased by intensifying human impact on vegetation. In general, our results suggest that the main changes in precipitation in the Iberian Peninsula have occurred in pace with the main temperature changes in the North European-Atlantic region, with warm (cold) periods in the North corresponding with humid (dry) periods in the Iberian Peninsula.

Liisa Ilvonen et al.
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Liisa Ilvonen et al.
Data sets

Quantitative reconstruction of precipitation changes in the Iberian Peninsula during the Late Pleistocene and the Holocene L. Ilvonen, J. S. López-Sáez, L. Holmström, F. Alba-Sánchez, S. Pérez-Díaz, J. Carrión, and H. Seppä https://doi.org/10.17632/4pznttrd4h.1

Model code and software

A Bayesian spatiotemporal model for reconstructing climate from multiple pollen records, Supplement C: The Matlab code. The Matlab code used in reconstructions. L. Holmström, L. Ilvonen, H. Seppä, and S. Veski https://doi.org/10.1214/15-AOAS832SUPPC

Liisa Ilvonen et al.
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Short summary
In the Iberian Peninsula, precipitation is a key driver of vegetation changes. Here, we use a pollen-climate calibration set and fossil pollen data from seven sites in Spain to reconstruct annual precipitation values for the last 15 000 years using two different quantitative methods. The results suggest that the precipitation changes have occurred in pace with the temperature changes in northern Europe, with warm periods in the North corresponding with humid periods in the Iberian Peninsula.
In the Iberian Peninsula, precipitation is a key driver of vegetation changes. Here, we use a...
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