Plant macrofossil evidence for an early onset of the Holocene summer thermal maximum in northernmost Europe
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Holocene summer temperature reconstructions from northern Europe based on sedimentary pollen records suggest an onset of peak summer warmth around 9,000 years ago. However, pollen-based temperature reconstructions are largely driven by changes in the proportions of tree taxa, and thus the early-Holocene warming signal may be delayed due to the geographical disequilibrium between climate and tree populations. Here we show that quantitative summer-temperature estimates in northern Europe based on macrofossils of aquatic plants are in many cases ca. 2 °C warmer in the early Holocene (11,700–7,500 years ago) than reconstructions based on pollen data. When the lag in potential tree establishment becomes imperceptible in the mid-Holocene (7,500 years ago), the reconstructed temperatures converge at all study sites. We demonstrate that aquatic plant macrofossil records can provide additional and informative insights into early-Holocene temperature evolution in northernmost Europe and suggest further validation of early post-glacial climate development based on multi-proxy data syntheses.