EGU23-1447, updated on 07 Mar 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Temperature and precipitation reconstruction for Last Glacial Central Europe reveals new insights into continental climate dynamics

Charlotte Prud homme1, Peter Fischer2, Olaf Jöris3, Sergey Gromov4, Mathias Vinnepand2, Christine Hatté5,6, Hubert Vonhof7, Olivier Moine8, Pierre Antoine8, Andreas Vött2, and Kathryn Fitzsimmons9
Charlotte Prud homme et al.
  • 1University of Lausanne, Institute of Earth surface dynamics, Lausanne, Switzerland (
  • 2Institute of Geography, Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • 3MONREPOS Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution, RGZM, Schloss Monrepos, Neuwied, Germany
  • 4Department of Atmospheric Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 5Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, UMR 8212 CNRS CEA UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 6Institute of Physics, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland
  • 7Department of Climate Geochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 8Laboratoire de Géographie Physique, Environnements Quaternaires et actuels, UMR 8591 CNRS Université Paris 1 UPEC, Thiais, France
  • 9Department of Geosciences, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

Over the last glacial period, the climate of the Northern Hemisphere experienced numerous abrupt variations on millennial to centennial timescales known as Dansgaard-Oeschger events. These events, characterised by rapid warming at the beginning of interstadials and gradual cooling back to stadial conditions are best documented in Greenland ice cores and North Atlantic marine records, while their propagation onto the continents and potential feedbacks are less well documented. In this context, loess palaeosol sequences in central Europe are valuable archives, often recording these climatic changes in the form of brown soils and tundra gley horizons - indicating milder interstadial conditions - intercalated with primary loess deposits reflecting cold stadial conditions.

To reconstruct palaeoclimate changes at high resolution we use singular material from loess sediments: fossil earthworm calcite granules (ECG). ECGs, composed of aggregated sparite crystals formed in the calciferous earthworm glands, are secreted daily at the soil surfacemostly by Lumbricus species and experience limited vertical mixing within the loess sedimentary column. ECGs are thus an excellent terrestrial material for palaeoclimate reconstructions using stable isotopic geochemistry and radiocarbon dating. ECGs have been collected from two temporally overlapping loess-palaeosol sequences along an NNW-SSE transect in the Rhine River valley of western Germany. We present warm-season land-surface temperature and precipitation estimates at millennial timescales spanning ~ 45-22 cal kBP (late OIS 3 - OIS 2).  We demonstrate that OIS 3-2 climate in the Rhine Valley was significantly cooler during the warm season and overall drier with annual precipitation reduced by up to 70%, compared to the present day. Interstadials were only slightly warmer (1-4°C) than stadial indicating strong attenuation compared to Greenland records. In combination with mesoscale wind and moisture transport modelling we can show that this region was dominated by westerlies and thereby inextricably linked to North Atlantic climate forcing.

The approach combining high-resolution age-depth modelling and geochemical proxy-based climate reconstruction can be readily adopted at other loess palaeosol sequences. We envisage a widespread application of this approach that would improve our understanding of regional variability over the European continent in response to North Atlantic climate changes over millennial to centennial timescales.

How to cite: Prud homme, C., Fischer, P., Jöris, O., Gromov, S., Vinnepand, M., Hatté, C., Vonhof, H., Moine, O., Antoine, P., Vött, A., and Fitzsimmons, K.: Temperature and precipitation reconstruction for Last Glacial Central Europe reveals new insights into continental climate dynamics, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-1447,, 2023.