The holocene climatic evolution of mediterranean Italy: A review of the continental geological data

C. Giraudi, M. Magny, G. Zanchetta, R.N. Drysdale

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We present a synthesis of geological, stratigraphic, geomorphological and stable isotope data collected from continental archives to highlight the environmental and climatic differences between the first and second half of the Holocene of central and southern Italy. The beginning of the Holocene is marked by rapid environmental change. In Mediterranean Italy, between c. 9500 cal. BP and c. 6000-5500 cal. BP, average temperatures were probably higher and environmental conditions were generally stable; between c. 9000 and 7000 cal. BP, meteoric precipitation was at its highest. The end of the wetter period seems to occur later, at c. 6000-5000 cal. BP. Since c. 6000-5000 cal. BP, rapid climatic excursions are apparent in different palaeoclimate proxies, with both variability in meteoric precipitation and temperature evident. Of particular relevance is the event occurring at c. 4200 cal. BP. This event heralds a period of significant environmental change in the Apennines and, more generally, in central Italy. Following this event, environmental variability appears most pronounced and frequent. Some environmental changes during the early Holocene and after 4200 cal. BP seem to be in phase with IRD events in the North Atlantic, which suggest: (1) teleconnections between North Atlantic and Mediterranean areas; and (2) a possible influence of North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation in controlling the advection of moisture over the central Mediterranean basin via westerly air masses. The archives used in this review allow us to consider climate evolution as a driver of most of the observed environmental changes. © The Author(s) 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105 - 115
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Archaeology
  • Ecology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology

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