Climatic and environmental changes during the Weichselian Lateglacial Interstadial in the Weerterbos region, the Netherlands

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Abstract

Lake sediment records from the Weerterbos region, in the southern Netherlands, were studied to reconstruct summer temperature and environmental changes during the Weichselian Lateglacial Interstadial. A sediment core obtained from a small lacustrine basin was analysed for multiple proxies, including lithological changes, oxygen isotopes of bulk carbonates, pollen and chironomids. It was found that the oxygen isotope record differed strongly from the other proxies. Based on a comparison with three additional lake sediment records from the same region, it emerged that the oxygen isotope records were strongly affected by local environmental conditions, impeding the distinction of a regional palaeoclimate signal. The chironomid-inferred July air temperature reconstruction produced inferred interstadial temperatures ranging between ∼15° and 18°C, largely consistent with previously published results from the northern part of the Netherlands. A temporary regressive phase in the pollen record, which can be tentatively correlated with the Older Dryas, preceded the expansion of birch woodland. Despite differences between the four pollen records from the Weerterbos region, a comparable regressive vegetation phase that was possibly the result of a shift to drier conditions could be discerned in all of the profiles. In addition, a temporary temperature decline of ∼1.5°C was inferred from the chironomid record during this regressive phase. The multi-proxy approach used here enabled a direct comparison of inferred changes in temperature, vegetation and environmental conditions at an individual site, while the multi-site approach provided insight into the factors influencing the pollen and isotope records from these small-scale depressions.

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