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Climate and environmental change in the Balkans over the last 17 ka recorded in sediments from Lake Prespa (Albania/F.Y.R. of Macedonia/Greece)

Abstract

This paper presents sedimentological, geochemical, and biological data from Lake Prespa (Albania/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia/Greece). The 320 cm core sequence (Co1215) covers the last 17 ka calBP and reveals significant change in climate and environmental conditions on a local and regional scale. The sediment record suggests typical stadial conditions from 17.1 to 15.7 ka calBP, documented through low lake productivity, well-mixed conditions, and cold-resistant steppe catchment vegetation. Warming is indicated from 15.7 ka calBP with slightly increased in-lake productivity, gradual expansion of trees, and decreasing erosion through disappearance of local ice caps. Between 14.5 and 11.5 ka calBP relatively stable hydrological conditions are documented. The maximum in tree taxa percentages during the Bølling/Allerød interstadial (14.5–13.2 ka calBP) indicates increased temperatures and moisture availability, whereas the increase of cold-resistant open steppe vegetation taxa percentages during the Younger Dryas (13.2–11.5 ka calBP) is coupled with distinct colder and drier conditions. The Holocene sequence from 11.5 ka calBP indicates ice-free winters, stratification of the water column, a relatively high lake trophic level and dense vegetation cover over the catchment. A strong climate related impact on the limnology and physical parameters in Lake Prespa is documented around 8.2 ka through a significant decrease in productivity, enhanced mixing, strong decomposition and soil erosion, and a coeval expansion of herbs implying cool and dry climate conditions. Intensive human activity in the catchment is indicated from around 1.9 ka calBP. This multiproxy approach improves our understanding of short- and long-term climate fluctuations in this area and their impact on catchment dynamics, limnology, hydrology, and vegetation.

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Bibliography

Aufgebauer, A., Panagiotopoulos, K., Wagner, B., Schäbitz, F., Viehberg, F. A., Vogel, H., Zanchetta, G., Sulpizio, R., Leng, M. J., Damaschke, M. (2012): Climate and environmental change in the Balkans over the last 17 ka recorded in sediments from Lake Prespa (Albania/F.Y.R. of Macedonia/Greece). – In: Quaternary International, Vol. 274, p: 122-135

Authors Anne Aufgebauer and Konstantinos Panagiotopoulos and Bernd Wagner and Frank Schäbitz and Finn A. Viehberg and Hendrik Vogel and Giovanni Zanchetta and Roberto Sulpizio and Melanie J. Leng and Magret Damaschke
Type article
Title Climate and environmental change in the Balkans over the last 17 ka recorded in sediments from Lake Prespa (Albania/F.Y.R. of Macedonia/Greece)
Journal Quaternary International
Year 2012
Volume 274
Pages 122-135
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