Characterization of a rapid climate shift at the MIS 8/7 transition in central Spain (Valdocarros II, Autonomous Region of Madrid) by means of the herpetological assemblages

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Blain, Hugues Alexandre and Panera, Joaquin and Uribelarrea del Val, David and Rubio Jara, Susana and Pérez González, Alfredo (2012) Characterization of a rapid climate shift at the MIS 8/7 transition in central Spain (Valdocarros II, Autonomous Region of Madrid) by means of the herpetological assemblages. Quaternary science review, 47 . pp. 73-81. ISSN 0277-3791

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.05.021




Abstract

Climate instability with high-amplitude and rapid shifts during the Middle Pleistocene is well known from pollen records and deep-ocean sediment cores. Although poorly correlatable with such long climate/environment records, the successive fossil amphibian and reptile assemblages from the Middle Pleistocene site of Valdocarros II (Autonomous Region of Madrid, central Spain) provide a unique opportunity to characterize the climatic and environmental features of such rapid (certainly less than 1000 years) shifts from cold to warm conditions in a terrestrial sequence. As the amphibians and reptiles do not differ at species level from the extant herpetofauna of the Iberian Peninsula, they can contribute to the reconstruction of the landscape and climate. In this paper, the mutual climatic range and habitat weighting methods are applied to the herpetofaunistic assemblages in order to estimate quantitative data. The difference in mean annual temperature between “cold” and “warm” periods is estimated at 3.2 °C, with a greater increase in temperature during winter (+3 °C) than during summer (+1 °C). During “cold” periods the climate was more Oceanic (although preserving some dryness during the summers), whereas during “warm” periods the climate became Mediterranean (with mild winters and a long period of dryness in the summer and early autumn). Though higher during cold periods, the continentality (or atmospheric temperature range) remained roughly similar, in accordance with the geographical location of the site in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula. A greater amount of open landscape occurred during “cold” periods, whereas during “warm” periods the wooded areas expanded from 20% to 40% of the landscape surface. Such climatic/environmental changes, together with the numeric datings of the site, suggest that this shift may correspond to the transition from MIS 8 to MIS 7, also called Termination III.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Middle Pleistocene; Cold to warm climate: Terrestrial sequence; Herpetofauna; Western Mediterranean; Iberian Peninsula.
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:65774
Deposited On:28 May 2021 14:27
Last Modified:31 May 2021 07:34

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