Publication: The 8.2 ka event in northern Spain: timing, structure and climatic impact from a multi-proxy speleothem record
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Advisors (or tutors)
Copernicus Gesellschaft MBH
The 8.2 ka event is regarded as the most prominent climate anomaly of the Holocene and is thought to have been triggered by a meltwater release to the North Atlantic that was of sufficient magnitude to disrupt the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). It is most clearly captured in Greenland ice-core records, where it is reported as a cold and dry anomaly lasting ∼ 160 years, from 8.25 ± 0.05 until 8.09 ± 0.05 ka (Thomas et al., 2007). It is also recorded in several archives in the North Atlantic region; however, its interpreted timing, evolution and impacts vary significantly. This inconsistency is commonly attributed to poorly constrained chronologies and/or inadequately resolved time series. Here we present a high-resolution speleothem record of early Holocene palaeoclimate from El Soplao Cave in northern Spain, a region pertinent to studying the impacts of AMOC perturbations on south-western Europe. We explore the timing and impact of the 8.2 ka event on a decadal scale by coupling speleothem stable carbon and oxygen isotopic ratios, trace element ratios (Mg Ca and Sr Ca), and growth rate. Throughout the entire speleothem record, δ18O variability is related to changes in effective recharge. This is supported by the pattern of changes in δ13C, Mg Ca and growth rate. The 8.2 ka event is marked as a centennial-scale negative excursion in El Soplao δ18O, starting at 8.19 ± 0.06 ka and lasting until 8.05 ± 0.05 ka, suggesting increased recharge at the time. Although this is supported by the other proxies, the amplitude of the changes is minor and largely within the realm of variability over the preceding 1000 years. Further, the shift to lower δ18O leads the other proxies, which we interpret as the imprint of the change in the isotopic composition of the moisture source, associated with the meltwater flux to the North Atlantic. A comparison with other well-dated records from south-western Europe reveals that the timing of the 8.2 ka event was synchronous, with an error-weighted mean age for the onset of 8.23 ± 0.03 and 8.10 ± 0.05 ka for the end of the event. This compares favourably with the North Greenland Ice Core Project (NGRIP) record. The comparison also reveals that the El Soplao δ18O is structurally similar to the other archives in south-western Europe and the NGRIP ice-core record.