Timing and duration of Last Interglacial conditions in Europe: A chronicle of a changing chronology

  • Tzedakis C
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Estimates of the length of the Last Interglacial in Europe, conventionally defined by the presence of forest as inferred from pollen diagrams, have varied considerably. Here an account of recent developments, largely instigated by a paper by Kukla et al. (1997), is presented. These include the emergence of new records with improved chronologies and a re-evaluation of previous assumptions of synchroneity between marine and terrestrial stage boundaries and also between northern and southern European changes. The current scheme proposes that the onset of the Last Interglacial in Europe started well into MIS 5e, after deglaciation was complete and was coincident with a rise to peak sea-surface temperatures. However, the timing of the end of the Last Interglacial between northern and southern Europe appears to have diverged considerably: in the north the elimination of forest occurred ca 115 ka, near the time of the MIS 5e/5d transition, while in the south tree populations persisted into the interval of global ice growth, until the onset of significant ice rafting ca 110 ka. This significant N-S diachroneity may be a reflection of the effects of different bioclimatic parameters limiting tree growth in the two areas. These developments highlight the problems of correlating records of different proxies and from different geographical regions. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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  • Chronis Tzedakis

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