Chronological control and centennial-scale climatic subdivisions of the Last Glacial Termination in the western Mediterranean region

Jon Camuera, Gonzalo Jiménez-Moreno, María J. Ramos-Román, Antonio García-Alix, Francisco J. Jiménez-Espejo, Jaime L. Toney, R. Scott Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The Last Glacial Termination is marked by changing environmental conditions affected by abrupt and rapid climate oscillations, such as Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS1), which is characterized by extremely low sea surface temperatures (SST) and significant changes in northern hemisphere terrestrial landscape (e.g., vegetation) and human dispersion. Previous studies show that overall cold/dry conditions occurred during HS1, but the lack of high-resolution records precludes whether climate was stable or instead characterized by instability. A high-resolution paleoclimatic record from the Padul wetland (southern Iberian Peninsula), supported by a high-resolution chronology and contrasted with other records from southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, shows 1) that the age boundaries of HS1 in this area occurred at ∼18.0 kyr BP (median age = 17,970 cal yr BP; mean age = 18,030 ± 330 cal yr BP) and ∼15.2 kyr BP (median age = 15,210 cal yr BP; mean age = 15,200 ± 420 cal yr BP) and 2) that climate during HS1 was non-stationary and centennial-scale variability in moisture is superimposed on this overall cold climatic period. In this study, we improve the pollen sampling resolution with respect to previous studies on the same Padul-15-05 sedimentary core and suggest a novel subdivision of HS1 in 7 sub-phases, including: i) 3 sub-phases (a.1-a.3) during an arid early phase (HS1a; ∼18.4–17.2 kyr BP), ii) a relatively humid middle phase (HS1b; ∼17.2–16.9 kyr BP), and iii) 3 sub-phases (c.1-c.3) during an arid late phase (HS1c; ∼16.9–15.7 kyr BP). This climatic subdivision is regionally supported by SST oscillations from the Mediterranean Sea, suggesting a strong land-sea coupling. A cyclostratigraphic analysis of pollen data between 20 and 11 kyr BP indicates that the climate variability and the proposed subdivisions characterized by ∼2000 and ∼800-yr periodicities could be related to solar forcing controlling climate in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106814
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Heinrich stadial 1
  • Iberian peninsula
  • Last glacial
  • Paleoclimate
  • Pollen analysis
  • Solar activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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