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Mid- to late-Holocene climate variability and anthropogenic impacts: multi-proxy evidence from Lake Bliden, Denmark

ABSTRACT

We conducted multi-proxy geochemical analyses (including measurements of organic carbon, nitrogen and sulphur stable isotope composition, and carbonate carbon and oxygen isotope composition) on a 13.5 m sediment core from Lake Bliden, Denmark, which provide a record of shifting hydrological conditions for the past 6,700 years. The early part of the stratigraphic record (6,700–5,740 cal year BP) was wet, based on δ18Ocarb and lithology, and corresponds to the Holocene Thermal Maximum. Shifts in primarily δ18Ocarb indicate dry conditions prevailed from 5,740 to 2,800 cal year BP, although this was interrupted by very wet conditions from 5,300 to 5,150, 4,300 to 4,050 and 3,700 to 3,450 cal year BP. The timing of the latter two moist intervals is consistent with other Scandinavian paleoclimatic records. Dry conditions at Lake Bliden between 3,450 and 2,800 cal year BP is consistent with other paleolimnological records from southern Sweden but contrasts with records in central Sweden, possibly suggesting a more northerly trajectory of prevailing westerlies carrying moisture from the North Atlantic at this time. Overall, fluctuating moisture conditions at Lake Bliden appear to be strongly linked to changing sea surface temperatures in the Greenland, Iceland and Norwegian seas. After 2,800 cal year BP, sedimentology, magnetic susceptibility, δ13CORG, δ13Ccarb and δ18Ocarb indicate a major reduction on water level, which caused the depositional setting at the coring site to shift from the profundal to littoral zone. The Roman Warm Period (2,200–1,500 cal year BP) appears dry based on enriched δ18Ocarb values. Possible effects of human disturbance in the watershed after 820 cal year BP complicate attempts to interpret the stratigraphic record although tentative interpretation of the δ18Ocarb, magnetic susceptibility, δ13CORG, δ13Ccarb and δ18Ocarb records suggest that the Medieval Warm Period was dry and the Little Ice Age was wet.