Sediment records recovered from the Baltic Sea during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 347 provide a unique opportunity to study paleoenvironmental and climate change in central and northern Europe. Such studies contribute to a better understanding of how environmental parameters change in continental shelf seas and enclosed basins. Here we present a multi-proxy-based reconstruction of paleotemperature (both marine and terrestrial), paleosalinity, and paleoecosystem changes from the Little Belt (Site M0059) over the past 8000 years and evaluate the applicability of inorganic-And organic-based proxies in this particular setting. All salinity proxies (diatoms, aquatic palynomorphs, ostracods, diol index) show that lacustrine conditions occurred in the Little Belt until -7400 cal yr BP. A connection to the Kattegat at this time can thus be excluded, but a direct connection to the Baltic Proper may have existed. The transition to the brackish-marine conditions of the Littorina Sea stage (more saline and warmer) occurred within -200 years when the connection to the Kattegat became established after -7400 cal yr BP. The different salinity proxies used here generally show similar trends in relative changes in salinity, but often do not allow quantitative estimates of salinity. The reconstruction of water temperatures is associated with particularly large uncertainties and variations in absolute values by up to 8°C for bottom waters and up to 16°C for surface waters. Concerning the reconstruction of temperature using foraminiferal Mg= Ca ratios, contamination by authigenic coatings in the deeper intervals may have led to an overestimation of temperatures. Differences in results based on the lipid paleothermometers (long chain diol index and TEXL 86) can partly be explained by the application of modern-day proxy calibrations to intervals that experienced significant changes in depositional settings: in the case of our study, the change from freshwater to marine conditions. Our study shows that particular caution has to be taken when applying and interpreting proxies in coastal environments and marginal seas, where water mass conditions can experience more rapid and larger changes than in open ocean settings. Approaches using a multitude of independent proxies may thus allow a more robust paleoenvironmental assessment.
- Programområde 5: Natur og klima