Holocene Climate Change Reflected in a Remote High Alpine Lake, A Multiproxy Investigation of the Sediment Record, (FWF R 29N10)

 

Project Leader: Dr. Karin Koinig

Started Dec 2003, continued June 2005

Ending: April 2008 

SOSLake
 

 

Abstract:

The impact of Holocene climate oscillations on lake ecosystems will be investigated in the sediment of a remote high alpine lake (Schwarzsee ob Sölden, Tyrol, Austria). High alpine lake ecosystems are remarkably sensitive to climate change as even a small increase in temperature shortens the duration of the snow and ice cover of the lake and its catchment. This simultaneous effect on in-lake and catchment processes amplifies the response to climate change.

 

In our study we will investigate signatures of climate change in the biotic and abiotic remains of the sediment. They reflect the environmental conditions at the time of their burial. We will investigate changes in diatoms, pigments, pollen, plant macrofossils, geochemistry, and mineralogy in a long sediment core. Changes in their stratigraphies will be compared to known climate oscillations during the Holocene and to glacier mass trends from the same region. Special attention will be given to the detection of climate impact on in-lake productivity, acid base balance, oxygen depletion, and weathering rates. 25 years of limnochemical monitoring data and a previously taken 220 year sediment core from the same site will help to interpret the Holocene sediment record. In addition, we want to test an Austrian temperature data set for the reconstruction of historic air temperature from changes in diatom composition.

 

Based on the climate signals we observe in the sediment records, we will assess the impact of climate change on the lake over the last 10000 years. It is of special interest how recent warming compares to historic warm periods. The results may serve as basis for the prediction of the future response of lake ecosystems to global change.


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