This paper introduces the results of an integrated project designed to compare high resolution analysis of proxy records of climate change in the sediments of seven mountain lakes across Europe with reconstructed instrumental records of climate change over the last 200 years. Palaeolimnological methods used include radiometric dating (Pb-210, Cs-137), mineral magnetics, dry weight, loss-on-ignition, carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, pigments, diatoms, chrysophyte cysts, cladocera and chironomids. Changes in fossil assemblages were summarised using principal components analysis. The stratigraphic data were compared with the instrumental record using linear regression techniques. The dated sediment records for each proxy from each site were treated as the response variables and the various attributes of the instrumental climate record as the predictor variables. The predictor variables were generated for each site for the period 1781 to 1997 using temperature reconstructions based on meteorological records. To harmonise the climatic predictors and the response variables, the climatic variables were smoothed along time with a LOESS regression. The results of the various analyses at the seven sites are presented in the following papers. A synthesis of the project and the relative performance of the different proxy methods are discussed in the final paper.
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