Chironomid-based summer temperatures from the Eemian to the Holocene: Towards a European temperature reconstruction covering the past 130,000 years
Third-party funded project
Project title Chironomid-based summer temperatures from the Eemian to the Holocene: Towards a European temperature reconstruction covering the past 130,000 years
Principal Investigator(s) Heiri, Oliver
Project Members Bolland, Alexander William
Organisation / Research unit Departement Umweltwissenschaften / Geoökologie (Heiri)
Project start 01.01.2017
Probable end 31.12.2020
Status Active

Proxy-based reconstructions of late Quaternary climate change are essential for assessing the relevance of climatic conditions for the development of landscapes, ecosystems and cultures as well as for understanding the influence of changing climate forcing factors on global and regional climates. However, for Central Europe, and notably for northern Switzerland and adjacent regions, only limited quantitative information is available on the amplitude of temperature changes during large sections of the past 130,000 years. Based on fossil chironomid records from sites in the northern Alpine region of Switzerland and adjacent regions, this project will develop a new palaeotemperature dataset that describes long-term (millennial-scale) summer temperature changes during this time interval. The presently available chironomid-temperature transfer function for the Alpine region will be expanded by analysing an additional 40 lakes to make it suitable for July air temperature reconstruction based on fossil chironomids in late Quaternary sediments from northern Alpine lowland and mid-elevation lakes. New Lateglacial chironomid records from two sites in Switzerland will be developed. Together with reconstructed temperatures obtained from previously analysed chironomid records in the study region, these data will be used to calculate a multi-site reconstruction of summer temperature change during the past 18,000 years. In collaboration with partner projects, new chironomid-based July air temperature reconstructions will also be developed from two lakes in southern Germany close to the Swiss border, covering the time interval of ca. 130,000–40,000 and ca. 40,000–14,000 years ago, respectively. Combined these records will describe July air temperature variations in the study region at multimillennial- to millennial-scale for the interval 130,000–18,000 years ago and at millennial- to multicentennial-scale for the past 18,000 years. The project will produce the first reconstruction of July air temperature change from central Europe covering a full interglacial-glacial-interglacial cycle based on a standardized and consistent methodology, and the longest chironomid-based temperature reconstruction available to date. It will therefore provide the user community (e.g., archaeologists, palaeoecologists, glaciologists, vegetation and climate modellers) with a new, high-quality palaotemperature dataset for the northern Alpine region. This dataset can be used to study the effects of past temperature change on the development of cultures, biomes and ecosystems in central Europe, and to assess the effect of variations in climate forcing factors on regional climate.

Financed by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

Cooperations ()

  ID Kreditinhaber Kooperationspartner Institution Laufzeit - von Laufzeit - bis
4495877  Heiri, Oliver  Pross, Jörg  University of Heidelberg  01.08.2018  31.12.2020 
4495888  Heiri, Oliver  Koutsodendris, Andreas  University of Heidelberg  01.01.2018  31.12.2020 
4495889  Heiri, Oliver  Tinner, Willy  University of Bern  01.01.2018  31.12.2019 
4495890  Heiri, Oliver  Millet, Laurent  University de France-Comté  01.01.2018  31.12.2020 

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