University of Oulu

Ilvonen, L., López-Sáez, J.A., Holmström, L., Alba-Sánchez, F., Pérez-Díaz, S., Carrión, J.S., Ramos-Román, M.J., Camuera, J., Jiménez-Moreno, G., Ruha, L. and Seppä, H. (2022), Spatial and temporal patterns of Holocene precipitation change in the Iberian Peninsula. Boreas, 51: 776-792.

Spatial and temporal patterns of Holocene precipitation change in the Iberian Peninsula

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Author: Ilvonen, Liisa1,2; López-Sáez, José Antonio3; Holmström, Lasse4;
Organizations: 1Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
2Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, Research Centre for Ecological Change, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 65, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
3Instituto de Historia, CSIC, c/ Albasanz 26-28, 28037 Madrid, Spain
4Research Unit of Mathematical Sciences, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
5Department of Botany, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
6Department of Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Cantabria, Avda. de los Castros s/n, 39005 Santander, Spain
7Department of Plant Biology, Faculty of Biology, University of Murcia, 30100 Espinardo, Murcia, Spain
8Department of Stratigraphy and Palaeontology, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
9Natural Resources Institute Finland, Paavo Havaksen tie 3, 90570 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-10-19


Precipitation is a key climate parameter of vegetation and ecosystems in the Iberian Peninsula. Here, we use a regional pollen–climate calibration model and fossil pollen data from eight sites from the Atlantic coast to southern Spain to provide quantitative reconstructions of annual precipitation trends and excursions and their regional patterns for the last 11 700 years. The Early Holocene (11 700 to 11 000 cal. a BP) was characterized by high precipitation values followed by a slowly declining trend until about 9000 cal. a BP in the south and about 8000 cal. a BP in the north. From 8000 to 6000 cal. a BP the reconstructed precipitation values are the highest in most records, especially in those located in the Mediterranean climatic region in the southern part of the peninsula, with maximum values nearly 100% higher than the modern reconstructed values. The results suggest a declining precipitation during the Late Holocene in the south, with a positive excursion at around 2500 cal. a BP, while in the north precipitation remained high until 500 cal. a BP. However, the Late Holocene climate reconstructions in the Iberian Peninsula are biased by intensifying human impact on vegetation. The statistical time series analyses using SiZer technique do not indicate any statistically significant high-frequency drought events in the region. In general, our results suggest regional differences in the precipitation patterns between the northern and southern parts of the peninsula, with a more distinct Middle Holocene period of high humidity in the south.

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Series: Boreas
ISSN: 0300-9483
ISSN-E: 1502-3885
ISSN-L: 0300-9483
Volume: 51
Issue: 4
Pages: 776 - 792
DOI: 10.1111/bor.12586
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
Funding: This research has been funded by the Academy of Finland (GRASS and HiDyn projects), by the European Research Council (project YMPACT), and through the REDISCO-HAR2017-88035-P (Plan Nacional I + D+I, Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness), RTI2018-101714-B-I00 (Spanish government), B-RNM-404-UGR18 (ERDF- Andalusian Government) and P18-RT-4963 (Andalusian Government). Pollen data were extracted from the European Pollen Database (EPD; and the work of the data contributors and the EPD community is gratefully acknowledged. We thank the two reviewers (T. Schröder and an anonymous reviewer) and Jan A. Piotrowski (editor-in-chief) for their constructive comments and suggestions, which improved the quality of the manuscript.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Boreas published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Boreas Collegium. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.