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WP 1.5 Paleoclimatic data from sedimentary cores on the continental platform

Over the last decades, several national and international research groups have focused their attention on marine sediments in the Mediterranean area, to study the Holocene climatic evolution. By virtue of its close relationship with continental masses subject to different climatic processes, the Mediterranean basin permits the documentation of climate evolution both globally and in the Northern Hemisphere. Finally, it is worth noting that shallow sea (continental shelf) areas are natural repositories for the monitoring of short-term climate change and anthropogenic impacts on the marine system.

• Task 1. In order to make information on climate history and environment provided by marine sediments available, this Task will be devoted to the collection and analysis of marine sediment cores, particularly those drilled in shallow sea environments, and will focus on climate dynamics in the Mediterranean over the past two Millennia. The possibility of enriching the databases referring to this time interval (to date, still limited to the Mediterranean) will provide new working hypotheses for the implementation of numerical models that attempt to simulate how the Mediterranean, and in particular the coastal-marine sector, has responded to past climate dynamics.

• Task 2. This task will be devoted to the analysis of marine cores recovered in the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian seas during the oceanographic cruises NEXTDATA-2014 e NEXTDATA-2016. Within a high-resolution chronostratigraphic framework (Tephra210Pb, 137Cs and 14C), this study will focus on the identification of the main paleoclimatic oscillations (at decadal and/or secular scale) recognized during the last 2000 years in the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas. The succession of the paleoclimatic events identified through biotic (calcareous plankton and pollen), geochemical (stable isotope and Mg/Ca ratio) and alkenone proxies, used to estimate Sea Surface Temperature (SST), will be compared with data collected from marine cores recovered in other areas of the Mediterranean during previous NEXTDATA oceanographic cruises. This comparison will allow to verify the synchronicity between short and long-term climatic oscillations in the Mediterranean and the related changes in SST.

The analysis of data will also enable the identification of the main periodicities recorded in the paleoclimatic proxies, and their relationship with well-known climate forcings. The comparison between continental (pollen) and marine (calcareous plankton) proxies will allow to understand the possible interaction between these different environments and to identify the effects on marine and continental ecosystems associated with the rapid climatic oscillations recorded over the last two Millennia.  

In addition to the above activities, this Task will analyse the influence of regional (anthropogenic impacts) and global forcings on paleoclimatic events, as documented in the studied Mediterranean key sites, with the goal of understanding the relationship between cultural changes and climate oscillations during the last two Millennia.

• Task 3. Creation of a database of Tephra layers (chronologies) documented in marine sediments and in lake deposits from central and southern Italy.