This paper investigates evidence for palaeoclimatic changes during the period ca. 1500-500 cal. yr BC through peat humification studies on seven Irish ombrotrophic bogs. The sites are well-correlated by the identification of three mid-first millennium BC tephras, which enable the humification records at specific points in time to be directly compared. Phases of temporarily increased wetness are suggested at ca. 1300-1250 cal. yr BC, ca. 1150-1050 cal. yr BC, ca. 940 cal. yr BC and ca. 740 cal. yr BC. The last of these is confirmed to be synchronous at five sites, suggesting external forcing on a regional scale. The timing of this wet-shift is constrained by two closely dated tephras and is demonstrated to be distinct from the widely reported changes to cooler/wetter conditions associated with a solar minimum at 850-760 cal. yr BC, at which time the Irish sites appear instead to experience drier conditions. The results suggest the possibility of either non-uniform responses to solar forcing in northwest Europe at this time, or the existence of unrelated climate events in the early first millennium BC. The findings caution against the correlation of loosely dated palaeoclimate data if the effects of forcing mechanisms are to be understood.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)