A multidisciplinary approach to reveal the Sicily Climate and Environment over the last 20 000 years

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We present a thorough review of the knowledge on the climate and environment in Sicily over the last 20 000years, taking into account results of several studies carried using terrestrial and marine records. We obtain acoherent framework of the most important changes succeeded in the island, even if some points need furtherinvestigation.All the reconstructions of surface temperatures of the seas and the air surrounding Sicily point out severeclimatic conditions during the last glacial period. The steppe- and semisteppe-like vegetation pattern testifies,together with additional evidence from geochemical data of lacustrine evidence, markedly arid conditions. Fi-nally, significant episodes of sea level drop connected Sicily to the Italian Peninsula and favoured the dispersionof faunal elements from southern Italy.The transition between the last glacial and the Holocene was not characterized by a gradual warming but waspunctuated by two abrupt suborbital climatic fluctuations: Bølling-Allerød (warm) and Younger Dryas (cold), asrecognized in the sediments recovered close to the northern and southern coast of Sicily. A denser arborealcover is possibly indicated by the occurrence of dormouse and Arvicola remains.Finally the sensitivity of Sicily to climate perturbations is demonstrated by the occurrence of repeated subtleclimatic anomalies during the Holocene, including the Little Ice Age, also known from historical chronicles.Forests, woods and Mediterranean maquis developed in the early-middle Holocene. Thereafter was a generaldecline of arboreal vegetation, following a general aridification trend that seems to be a common feature insouthern Europe and North Africa. Since Greek colonization (7th century before Christ), the landscape wasintensively modelled for agriculture and breeding, leading to a significant loss of vegetation cover.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)71-82
Numero di pagine11
RivistaCentral European Journal of Geosciences
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • ???subjectarea.asjc.1900.1900???


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