Journal Article (Refereed)
Last Millennium hydro-climate variability in Central-Eastern Europe (Northern Carpathians, Romania)
Feurdean, A & Gałka, M & Kuske, E & Tanţău, I & Lamentowicz, M & Florescu, G & Liakka, J & Hutchinson, S M & Mulch, A & Hickler, T 2015, 'Last Millennium hydro-climate variability in Central-Eastern Europe (Northern Carpathians, Romania)', THE HOLOCENE, 25(7).
Proxy-based reconstructions of climate variability over the last millennium provide important insights for understanding current climate change within a long-term context. Past hydrological changes are particularly difficult to reconstruct, yet rainfall patterns and variability are among the most critical environmental variables. Ombrotrophic bogs, entirely dependent on water from precipitation and sensitive to changes in the balance between precipitation and evapotranspiration, are highly suitable for such hydro-climate reconstructions. We present a multi-proxy analysis (testate amoebae, plant macrofossils, stable carbon isotopes in Sphagnum, pollen, spores and macroscopic charcoal) from an ombrotrophic peat profile from the Rodna Mountains (northern Romania) to establish a quantitative record of hydro-climatic changes. We identify five main stages: wet surface mire conditions between AD 800 and 1150 and AD 1800 and 1950, and drying of the mire surface between AD 1300 and 1450, AD 1550 and 1750 and AD 1950 and 2012. Our multi-proxy reconstructions suggest that conditions during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) period (AD 900-1150) were considerably wetter than today, while during most of the ‘Little Ice Age’ (LIA; AD 1500-1850), they were dry. Mire surface conditions in the Rodna Mountains have dried markedly over the last 40 years mainly as a result of anthropogenic climate change approaching the driest conditions seen over the last 1000 years. There is a marked difference between current hydro-climatic conditions (dry mire) and those of the MCA (wet mire). This implies that for the study region, the MCA cannot provide analogous climatic conditions to the contemporary situation. Our reconstructions are in partial agreement with water table estimates elsewhere in central and eastern Europe but generally contrast with those from NW Europe, especially during LIA. We suggest that these distinctive regional differences result from fluctuations in large-scale atmospheric circulation, which determine the relative influences of continental and oceanic air masses.