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Late Glacial to Holocene climate change and human impact in the Mediterranean: The last ca. 17ka diatom record of Lake Prespa (Macedonia/Albania/Greece)

Cvetkoska, Aleksandra; Levkov, Zlatko; Reed, Jane M.; Wagner, Bernd


Aleksandra Cvetkoska

Zlatko Levkov

Jane M. Reed

Bernd Wagner


Lake Prespa (Macedonia/Albania/Greece) occupies an important location between Mediterranean and central European climate zones. Although previous multi-proxy research on the Late Glacial to Holocene sequence, core Co1215 (320 cm; ca. 17 cal ka BP to present), has demonstrated its great value as an archive of Quaternary palaeoclimate data, some uncertainty remains in the interpretation of climate change. With the exception of oxygen stable isotope data, previous palaeolimnological interpretation has relied largely on proxies for productivity. Here, existing interpretation is strengthened by the addition of diatom data. Results demonstrate that shifts in diatom assemblage composition are driven primarily by lake-level changes and thus permit more confident interpretation of shifts in moisture availability over time, while corroborating previous interpretation of catchment- and climate-induced productivity shifts. An inferred cold, arid shallow lake phase between ca. 17.1 and 15.7 cal ka BP is not only followed by a high-productivity phase from ca. 15.7 cal ka BP with Late Glacial warming, but also is the first evidence for a gradual increase in lake level, in line with other regional records. Clear evidence for a Younger Dryas climate reversal between ca. 13.1 and 12.3 cal ka BP is followed by an unusually gradual transition to the Holocene and deeper, oligotrophic–mesotrophic lake conditions are reached by ca. 11.0 cal ka BP. In contrast to the arid episode from ca. 10.0 to 8.0 ka inferred from positive 18δOcalcite values, rapid diatom-inferred lake-level increase after the start of the Holocene suggests high moisture availability, in line with palynological evidence, but with only very subtle evidence for the impact of an 8.2 ka cold event. The maintenance of high lake levels until 1.9 cal ka BP, and the peak of inferred humidity from ca. 7.9 to 6.0 cal ka BP, matches the oxygen stable isotope profile and confirms that the latter is driven primarily by evaporative concentration rather than reflecting regional shifts in precipitation sources over time. During the Late Holocene progressive eutrophication is inferred between 1.9 and present. Two shallow phases at ca. 1.0 cal ka BP and at ca. 100 years ago probably represent an aridity response which is added to increase human impact in the catchment. Overall, the study is important in confirming previous tentative inferences that Late Glacial to Holocene moisture availability has strong affinity with other sites in the Eastern Mediterranean. It also tracks the pattern of North Atlantic forcing.


Cvetkoska, A., Levkov, Z., Reed, J. M., & Wagner, B. (2014). Late Glacial to Holocene climate change and human impact in the Mediterranean: The last ca. 17ka diatom record of Lake Prespa (Macedonia/Albania/Greece). Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology, 406, 22-32.

Acceptance Date Apr 8, 2014
Online Publication Date Apr 24, 2014
Publication Date Jul 15, 2014
Deposit Date Dec 15, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology
Print ISSN 0031-0182
Electronic ISSN 0031-0182
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 406
Pages 22-32
Keywords Earth-Surface Processes; Palaeontology; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics; Oceanography
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an author accepted manuscript of an article published in Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology v.406.
Contract Date Nov 23, 2017


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