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Journal Article

Plant wax δD values record changing Eastern Mediterranean atmospheric circulation patterns during the 8.2 kyr B.P. climatic event


Gleixner,  Gerd
Molecular Biogeochemistry Group, Dr. G. Gleixner, Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Schemmel, F., Niedermeyer, E. M., Schwab, V. F., Gleixner, G., Pross, J., & Mulch, A. (2016). Plant wax δD values record changing Eastern Mediterranean atmospheric circulation patterns during the 8.2 kyr B.P. climatic event. Quaternary Science Reviews, 133, 96-107. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.12.019.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-1008-E
Throughout the Holocene, the climate of the Mediterranean region has been strongly influenced by variability in the atmospheric circulation of the high and low latitudes. A prominent example for such Holocene climate perturbations is the '8.2 kyr B.P. climatic event'. Reorganization of Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation patterns resulted in variations of temperature and precipitation distribution across the Mediterranean. The effects of changing high- and low-latitude atmospheric circulation on Mediterranean climate in relation to the 8.2 kyr B.P. climatic event are, however, not well understood. Here we present a high-resolution record of stable hydrogen isotope composition of plant-wax n-alkanes (delta D-wax) across the 8.2 kyr B.P. climatic event from the Tenaghi Philippon peat deposit (NE Greece) in order to characterize patterns of precipitation and changes in atmospheric circulation in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Our record reveals pronounced changes in delta D-wax that correlate closely with previously published palynological data. A long-term decline in delta D-wax values characterizes the lower part of the section. The 8.2 kyr B.P. climatic event itself is connected to two distinct positive delta D-wax excursions: a minor shift in delta D-wax around 8.2 kyr B.P. and a major shift in delta D-wax between ca. 8.1 and 8.0 kyr B.P. The upper part of the section shows a progressive trend towards higher delta D-wax values. We link shifts in delta D-wax to changes in Mediterranean air mass trajectories supplying precipitation to NE Greece caused by variations in the relative contributions of northerly-derived, D-depleted moisture and southerly-derived, D-enriched moisture. Possible control mechanisms for alternating air mass trajectories include changes in the influence of the Siberian High and differences in the influence of the African and Asian monsoon circulation on anticyclonic conditions in the Mediterranean region as well as regional inflow of moist air masses from the Aegean Sea. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.