Increased North Atlantic dust deposition linked to Holocene Icelandic glacier fluctuations



Stewart H, Bradwell T, Bullard J, McCulloch RD & Millar I (2022) Increased North Atlantic dust deposition linked to Holocene Icelandic glacier fluctuations. Holocene.

Mineral dust concentrations are coupled to climate over glacial-interglacial cycles with increased dust deposition occurring during major cold phases over the last ~100 ka. Holocene records suggest considerable spatial and temporal variability in the magnitude, frequency and timing of dust peaks that reflects regional or local drivers of dust emissions and transport. Here, we present stratigraphical, geochemical and isotopic evidence for dust deposition from two high-resolution peat sequences 200 km apart in northern Scotland spanning the last c. 8200 years. εNd isotope data suggest the dominant minerogenic dust source switches between a low latitude (likely Saharan) and a high latitude, Icelandic source. Marked peaks in increased minerogenic dust deposition at: c. 5.4–5.1, 4.0–3.9, 2.8–2.6, 1.0 and 0.3 ka BP occur against a backdrop of low dust deposition during the mid-Holocene (c. 5.0–4.0 ka BP) and increased background levels of dust during the neoglacial period (<4.0 ka BP). These dust peaks coincide with periods of glacial advance in Iceland and heightened storminess in the North Atlantic. Isotope data for additional dust peaks at c. 1.0 and 0.7 ka BP and the last ~50 years suggest these reflect increased dust from the Sahara associated with aridity and land-use change in North Africa during the Late-Holocene, and modern anthropogenic sources. This work highlights the complexity of Holocene records of dust deposition in the North Atlantic and emphasises the role of dynamic sub-Polar glaciers and their meltwater systems as a significant dust source.

palaeoclimates; peat archives; radiogenic isotopes; Scotland; tephrochronology

Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online


StatusIn Press
FundersNatural Environment Research Council
Publication date online01/11/2022
Date accepted by journal23/09/2022
PublisherSAGE Publications

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Dr Tom Bradwell

Dr Tom Bradwell

Senior Lecturer, Biological and Environmental Sciences