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Open Access item Climate changes and human activities recorded in the sediments of Lake Estanya (NE Spain) during the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age

Authors:Morellón, Mario
Valero-Garcés, Blas L.
González-Sampériz, Penélope
Vegas-Vilarrúbia, Teresa
Rubio, Esther
Rieradevall, María
Delgado Huertas, Antonio
Mata, M. Pilar
Romero, Oscar E.
Engstrom, D. R.
López-Vicente, Manuel
Navas Izquierdo, Ana
Soto, Jesús
Keywords:Lake Estanya, Iberian Peninsula, Western Mediterranean, Medieval warm period, Little Ice Age, Twentieth century, Human impact
Issue Date:10-Nov-2011
Publisher:Springer
Citation:"Morellón M, Valero-Garcés BL, González-Sampériz P, Vegas-Villarrúbia T, Rubio E, Rieradevall M, Delgado A, Mata MP, Romero OE, Engstrom DR, López-Vicente M, Navas A, Soto J. Climate changes and human activities recorded in the sediments of Lake Estanya (NE Spain) during the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age. Journal of Paleolimnology 46(3): 423-452 (2011)"
Abstract:A multi-proxy study of short sediment cores recovered in small, karstic Lake Estanya (42°02′ N, 0°32′ E, 670 m.a.s.l.) in the Pre-Pyrenean Ranges (NE Spain) provides a detailed record of the complex environmental, hydrological and anthropogenic interactions occurring in the area since medieval times. The integration of sedimentary facies, elemental and isotopic geochemistry, and biological proxies (diatoms, chironomids and pollen), together with a robust chronological control, provided by AMS radiocarbon dating and 210Pb and 137Cs radiometric techniques, enabled precise reconstruction of the main phases of environmental change, associated with the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), the Little Ice Age (LIA) and the industrial era. Shallow lake levels and saline conditions with poor development of littoral environments prevailed during medieval times (1150–1300 AD). Generally higher water levels and more dilute waters occurred during the LIA (1300–1850 AD), although this period shows a complex internal paleohydrological structure and is contemporaneous with a gradual increase of farming activity. Maximum lake levels and flooding of the current littoral shelf occurred during the nineteenth century, coinciding with the maximum expansion of agriculture in the area and prior to the last cold phase of the LIA. Finally, declining lake levels during the twentieth century, coinciding with a decrease in human pressure, are associated with warmer climate conditions. A strong link with solar irradiance is suggested by the coherence between periods of more positive water balance and phases of reduced solar activity. Changes in winter precipitation and dominance of NAO negative phases would be responsible for wet LIA conditions in western Mediterranean regions. The main environmental stages recorded in Lake Estanya are consistent with Western Mediterranean continental records, and show similarities with both Central and NE Iberian reconstructions, reflecting a strong climatic control of the hydrological and anthropogenic changes during the last 800 years.
Description:30 páginas, 9 figuras, 3 tablas.- El PDF del artículo es su versión post-print.
Publisher version (URL):http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10933-009-9346-3
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10261/36775
ISSN:0921-2728
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