Stalagmite-inferred European westerly drift in the early Weichselian with centennial-scale variability in marine isotope stage 5a

Yun Chuan Chung, Laurie Menviel, Arianna Marchionne, Horng Sheng Mii, Véronique Michel, Patricia Valensi, Xiuyang Jiang, Patrick Simon, Elena Rossoni-Notter, Abdelkader Moussous, Heikki Seppä, Yu Tang Chien, Chung Che Wu, Hsun Ming Hu*, Chuan Chou Shen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


he Weichselian glaciation is characterized by significant ocean circulation variations starting from ∼115 thousand years ago (ka) and terminating at ∼11.5 ka. The early Weichselian (115–74 ka), especially marine isotope stage (MIS) 5a at 85–74 ka, provides a window for understanding the linkage between the European westerlies and Mediterranean climate. However, lack of highly-resolved paleoclimate records with absolute chronologies hampers our knowledge of decadal-to-centennial-scale climate changes and forcings in the circum-Mediterranean realm. Here, we present 230Th-dated stalagmite-inferred hydroclimate records from Observatoire cave (43°44′ N, 7°25’ E), Monaco, for the period between 88.7 ± 0.4 and 80.3 ± 0.1 ka, covering portions of MIS 5b and 5a. Agreement between Observatoire and circum-Mediterranean stalagmite records confirm large-scale warming over the Atlantic-Europe territory during the transition from MIS 5b to 5a. Subdecadally-resolved Observatoire δ18O and δ13C records express four multi-centennial arid intervals in southern Europe at 84–80 ka in the first-half of MIS 5a, suggesting centennial westerly drifts, a finding supported by a model simulation. Westerly changes and associated arid events can be attributed to slowdowns of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, North Atlantic Oscillation states, and solar activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107581
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul 15


  • AMOC
  • MIS 5a
  • Model simulation
  • Multi-centennial arid intervals
  • Precipitation
  • Southern Europe
  • Stalagmite
  • Weichselian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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