A Late-glacial and Holocene record of climatic change from a Swiss peat humification profile

Roos-Barraclough, Fiona; van der Knaap, Willem Oscar; van Leeuwen, Jacqueline; Shotyk, W. (2004). A Late-glacial and Holocene record of climatic change from a Swiss peat humification profile. Holocene, 14(1), pp. 7-19. Sage 10.1191/0959683604hl685rp

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Colorimetric measurements of alkaline extracts from two Swiss peat cores have provided a complete 14500-year-long record of peat humification, a proxy of effective precipitation. Peat from the cold Younger Dryas (11050–9550 cal. bc) was well preserved despite low levels of precipitation. A particularly dry period, peaking at c. 7100 cal. bc, is indicated by well-decomposed peat. Peat from c. 6750–4250 cal. bc shows a low degree of decomposition, indicating a wet bog surface despite relatively warm temperatures and therefore indicating high levels of precipitation. A sharp transition to higher levels of decomposition c. 4450–3750 cal. bc indicates a major transition to a drier bog surface. Subsequently, peat humification generally decreases towards the end of the deeper profile (c. cal. ad 1050), indicating a gradual return to wetter conditions. This gradual decrease is punctuated by periods of particularly low humification which appear to be due to shifts to higher levels of effective precipitation from c. 2500 to 1350 cal. bc, c. 1050 to 550 cal. bc, centered around 150 cal. bc, and from c. cal. ad 550 onwards. Anthropogenic influences appear to have affected peat humification at the site at least since the Middle Ages. This study indicates that humification in colder regions/time periods could be more affected by temperature than precipitation and vice versa.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

van der Knaap, Willem Oscar and van Leeuwen, Jacqueline

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0959-6836

Publisher:

Sage

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

17 Dec 2015 15:39

Last Modified:

20 May 2016 13:31

Publisher DOI:

10.1191/0959683604hl685rp

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Peatlands, peat humification, decomposition, colorimetry, palaeoclimate proxy, effective precipitation, Lateglacial, Holocene, Switzerland

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.74002

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/74002

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