Globally synchronous climate change 2800 years ago: Proxy data from peat in South America

Frank M. Chambers, Dmitri Mauquoy, Sally A. Brain, Maarten Blaauw, John R. G. Daniell

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86 Citations (Scopus)


Initial findings from high-latitude ice-cores implied a relatively unvarying Holocene climate, in contrast to the major climate swings in the preceding late-Pleistocene. However, several climate archives from low latitudes imply a less than equable Holocene climate, as do recent studies on peat bogs in mainland north-west Europe, which indicate an abrupt climate cooling 2800 years ago, with parallels claimed in a range of climate archives elsewhere. A hypothesis that this claimed climate shift was global, and caused by reduced solar activity, has recently been disputed. Until now, no directly comparable data were available from the southern hemisphere to help resolve the dispute. Building on investigations of the vegetation history of an extensive mire in the Valle de Andorra, Tierra del Fuego, we took a further peat core from the bog to generate a high-resolution climate history through the use of determination of peat hurnification and quantitative leaf-count plant macrofossil analysis. Here, we present the new proxy-climate data from the bog in South America. The data are directly comparable with those in Europe, as they were produced using identical laboratory methods. They show that there was a major climate perturbation at the same time as in northwest European bogs. Its timinia, nature and apparent global synchronicity lend support to the notion of solar forcing of past climate change, amplified by oceanic circulation. This finding of a similar response simultaneously in both hemispheres may help validate and improve global climate models. That reduced solar activity might cause a global climatic change suggests that attention be paid also to consideration of any global climate response to increases in solar activity. This has implications for interpreting the relative contribution of climate drivers of recent 'global warming'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-444
Number of pages6
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
Early online date19 Dec 2006
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2007


  • climate change
  • peat stratigraphy
  • proxy-climate data
  • solar forcing
  • Sphagnum
  • Holocene
  • tierra-del-fuego
  • raised bogs
  • solar
  • holocene
  • record
  • BP
  • teleconnections
  • variability
  • Netherlands
  • transition


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