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Modern relationships between microscopic charcoal in marine sediments and fire regimes on adjacent landmasses to refine the interpretation of marine paleofire records: An Iberian case study

Genet, M; Daniau, A-L; Mouillot, F; Hanquiez, V; Schmidt, S; David, V; Georget, M; ... Sanchez-Goni, MF; + view all (2021) Modern relationships between microscopic charcoal in marine sediments and fire regimes on adjacent landmasses to refine the interpretation of marine paleofire records: An Iberian case study. Quaternary Science Reviews , 270 , Article 107148. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.107148. Green open access

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Abstract

Marine microcharcoal records provide invaluable information to understand changes in biomass burning and its drivers over multiple glacial and interglacial cycles and to evaluate fire models under warmer climates than today. However, quantitative reconstructions of burnt area, fire intensity and frequency from these records need calibration studies of the current fire-microcharcoal relationship. Here, we present the analysis of microcharcoal concentration and morphology in 102 core-top sediment samples collected in the Iberian margin and the Gulf of Cádiz. We show that microcharcoal concentrations are influenced by the water depth or the distance from the river mouth. At regional scale, the mean microcharcoal concentrations and microcharcoal elongation (length to width ratio) show a marked latitudinal variation in their distribution, primarily controlled by the type of burnt vegetation in the adjacent continent. High microcharcoal concentrations in marine sediments represent rare, large and intense fires in open Mediterranean woodlands. Based on these results, the increasing trend of microcharcoal concentrations recorded since 8 ka in the well-known marine sedimentary core MD95-2042 off the Iberian margin indicates the occurrence of large and infrequent fires of high intensity due to the progressive degradation of the Mediterranean forest and the expansion of shrublands.

Type: Article
Title: Modern relationships between microscopic charcoal in marine sediments and fire regimes on adjacent landmasses to refine the interpretation of marine paleofire records: An Iberian case study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.107148
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.107148
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: Microcharcoal, Marine surface sediments, Calibration, Iberian peninsula, Western europe, Fire regime, Climate, Vegetation, Holocene
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10136846
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