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UK Research and Innovations (2012)

Impacts of abrupt glacial and deglacial climate events on vegetation and fire regime in the Middle Atlas, Morocco

Climate Change Vegetation Fire Morocco

Titre : Impacts of abrupt glacial and deglacial climate events on vegetation and fire regime in the Middle Atlas, Morocco

Pays/Région : Middle Atlas, Morocco

Durée : sept. 12 - juil. 14

Référence projet : NE/K000608/1
Catégorie : Research Grant

Résumé
The lakes of the Middle Atlas have provided several valuable records of Holocene environmental change. Their potential to elucidate the timing and impacts of abrupt climate changes and millennial-scale climate variability prior to the Holocene has been little exploited, however. In a recent review of vegetation records of millennial-scale variability during the last glacial (73,500 - 14,700 calendar years ago, 73.4-14.7 ka BP), the paucity of records from North African Mediterranean borderlands was identified as a major limitation to the understanding of spatial variability in past climate dynamics associated with abrupt climate events evident in marine and ice core records (Dansgaard-Oeschger and Heinrich variability). Research from the Alboran Sea raises several questions regarding the phasing of climate variability between the mountains of Northwest Africa and southwestern Europe, in particular regarding moisture availability during high-latitude cooling events, with important implications for the understanding of past air mass trajectories in the subtropics. New data are required to resolve the nature of the hydrological regime and the role of fire during abrupt climate events. This project will undertake high-resolution palaeoecological investigation of new deep-lake cores retrieved from Middle Atlas lakes. The coring mission, fully funded by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), is scheduled for September 2012. In this project, analysis of vegetation change and fire regime will be undertaken at centennial-scale resolution, supported by the development of a robust AMS radiocarbon chronological framework, in the framework of an international collaborative approach incorporating sedimentological, palaeolimnological, palaeohydrological and geochemical investigation. This project will advance the understanding of climate-vegetation-fire interactions in the Mediterranean region and the sensitivity of montane ecosystems to abrupt climate forcing. It will also contribute to the understanding of climate dynamics, notably air mass movements and hydrological regime, in the region of Atlantic-Mediterranean-Saharan climatological interaction.

Lead Research Organisation : University of Manchester

Financement : Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Budget  : £65 301

UK Research and Innovations

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