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Quaternary 2018, 1(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1030030

The Potential of Speleothems from Western Europe as Recorders of Regional Climate: A Critical Assessment of the SISAL Database

1
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK
2
UCD School of Earth Sciences, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
3
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Zamboni 67, 40126 Bologna, Italy
4
Centre for Past Climate Change and School of Archaeology, Geography & Environmental Sciences, Reading University, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AH, UK
5
Institute of Geography, University of Bremen, Celsiusstrasse 2, 28359 Bremen, Germany
6
Department of Geoenvironmental Processes and Global Change, Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (IPE–CSIC), Avda. Montañana 1005, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain
7
Institute of Environmental Physics, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, 69210 Heidelberg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sandy P. Harrison
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 27 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speleothem Records and Climate)
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Abstract

Western Europe is the region with the highest density of published speleothem δ18O (δ18Ospel) records worldwide. Here, we review these records in light of the recent publication of the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and AnaLysis (SISAL) database. We investigate how representative the spatial and temporal distribution of the available records is for climate in Western Europe and review potential sites and strategies for future studies. We show that spatial trends in precipitation δ18O are mirrored in the speleothems, providing means to better constrain the factors influencing δ18Ospel at a specific location. Coherent regional δ18Ospel trends are found over stadial-interstadial transitions of the last glacial, especially in high altitude Alpine records, where this has been attributed to a strong temperature control of δ18Ospel. During the Holocene, regional trends are less clearly expressed, due to lower signal-to-noise ratios in δ18Ospel, but can potentially be extracted with the use of statistical methods. This first assessment highlights the potential of the European region for speleothem palaeoclimate reconstruction, while underpinning the importance of knowing local factors for a correct interpretation of δ18Ospel. View Full-Text
Keywords: SISAL database; speleothem; cave; oxygen isotopes; Western Europe; palaeoclimate SISAL database; speleothem; cave; oxygen isotopes; Western Europe; palaeoclimate
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Lechleitner, F.A.; Amirnezhad-Mozhdehi, S.; Columbu, A.; Comas-Bru, L.; Labuhn, I.; Pérez-Mejías, C.; Rehfeld, K. The Potential of Speleothems from Western Europe as Recorders of Regional Climate: A Critical Assessment of the SISAL Database. Quaternary 2018, 1, 30.

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