It's in your glass: a history of sea level and storminess from the Laphroaig bog, Islay (southwestern Scotland)

Malin E. Kylander, Jenny Söderlindh, Frederik Schenk, Richard Gyllencreutz, Johan Rydberg, Richard Bindler, Antonio Martínez Cortizas and Alasdair Skelton

Severe winter windstorms have become an increasingly common occurrence over recent decades in northwestern Europe. Although there exists considerable uncertainty, storminess is projected to increase in the future. On centennial to millennial time scales in particular, the mechanisms forcing storminess remain unsettled. We contribute to available palaeostorm records by reconstructing changes over the last 6670 years using a coastal peat sequence retrieved from the ombrotrophic Laphroaig bog on Islay, southwestern Scotland. We use a combination of ash content, grain size and elemental chemistry to identify periods of greater storminess, which are dated to 6605, 6290–6225, 5315–5085, 4505, 3900–3635, 3310–3130, 2920–2380, 2275–2190, 2005–1860, 1305–1090, 805–435 and 275 cal. a BP. Storm signals in the first half of the record up to ~3000 cal. a BP are mainly apparent in the grain‐size changes. Samples from this time period also have a different elemental signature than those later in the record. We speculate that this is due to receding sea levels and the consequent establishment of a new sand source in the form of dunes, which are still present today. The most significant events and strongest winds are found during the Iron Ages Cold Epoch (2645 cal. a BP), the transition into, and in the middle of, the Roman Ages Warm Period (2235 and 1965 cal. a BP) and early in the Little Ice Age (545 cal. a BP). The Laphroaig record generally agrees with regionally relevant peat palaeostorm records from Wales and the Outer Hebrides, although the relative importance of the different storm periods is not the same. In general, stormier periods are coeval with cold periods in the region as evidenced by parallels with increased ice‐rafted debris in the North Atlantic, highlighting that sea‐ice conditions could impact future storminess and storm track position.

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