Hydroclimatic changes during the 8.2 ka event revealed by Irish pines

David Brown, Gill Plunkett, Max Torbensen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


A pivotal cold event, deduced from the Greenland ice cores, took place between 8200 and 8000 cal. BP. Modelling of this climatic episode suggests that higher northern latitudes would have also experienced substantial reduction in rainfall and that Ireland would have observed a notable decline. No well-dated proxy record exists from the British Isles to test the model results. We present significant independent data for a phase of increased Scots pine initiation on Irish bogs at around 8150 cal. BP. Dendrochronological dating of sub-fossil Scots pine trees from three locations reveals synchronicity in germination across the area, indicative of a regional forcing, and allows for high-precision radiocarbon based dates. The starting rings of 40% of all samples from the north of Ireland dating to the period 8500-7500 cal. BP fall within a period of 25 years. The present colonisation model of Scots pine on peatland is interpreted as increasing drier conditions in the region and provides the first meaningful proxy data in support of a significant hydrological change in the north of Ireland accompanying the 8.2 ka event. The dating uncertainties associated with the Irish Scots pine record and the Greenland Ice Core Chronology 2005 (GICC05) do not allow for any overlap between the two. The results indicate that the discrepancy could be a result of dating inaccuracy that could have affected analysis of prior proxy alignments.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 09 May 2014
EventTree Rings in Archaeology, Climatology and Ecology (TRACE 2014) - Aviemore, United Kingdom
Duration: 06 May 201410 May 2014


ConferenceTree Rings in Archaeology, Climatology and Ecology (TRACE 2014)
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • dendrochronology
  • pines
  • synchronicity
  • 8.2 ka event
  • hydrological


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