Linkage between dust cycle and loess of the Last Glacial Maximum in Europe
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Abstract. This article establishes a linkage between the mineral dust cycle and loess deposits during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in Europe. To this aim, we simulate the LGM dust cycle at high resolution using a regional climate–dust model. The model-simulated dust deposition rates are found to be comparable with the mass accumulation rates of the loess deposits determined from more than 70 sites. In contrast to the present-day prevailing westerlies, winds from northeast, east, and southeast
... east, and southeast (36 %) and cyclonic regimes (22 %) were found to prevail over central Europe during the LGM. This supports the hypothesis that the recurring east sector winds associated with a high-pressure system over the Eurasian ice sheet (EIS) dominated the dust transport from the EIS margins in eastern and central Europe. The highest dust emission rates in Europe occurred in summer and autumn. Almost all dust was emitted from the zone between the Alps, the Black Sea, and the southern EIS margin. Within this zone, the highest emission rates were located near the southernmost EIS margins corresponding to the present-day German–Polish border region. Coherent with the persistent easterlies, westward-running dust plumes resulted in high deposition rates in western Poland, northern Czechia, the Netherlands, the southern North Sea region, and on the North German Plain including adjacent regions in central Germany. The agreement between the climate model simulations and the mass accumulation rates of the loess deposits corroborates the proposed LGM dust cycle hypothesis for Europe.