Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 397–410 | Cite as

Influence of industrial activity and pollution on the paleoclimate reconstruction from a eutrophic lake in lowland England, UK

  • B. Lang
  • A. S. Medeiros
  • A. Worsley
  • A. Bedford
  • S. J. Brooks
Original paper


Reliable estimates of Holocene temperatures are important for understanding past climate dynamics, the response of biota to climate change, and validating climate models. Chironomids in lake sediment cores are used widely to quantify past summer temperatures, for which high-latitude and/or high-altitude lakes, remote from human influence, are usually considered appropriate. Temperature inferences from lowland lakes are likely influenced by other variables, specifically eutrophication and industrial pollution, but their reliability has never been tested. We used a Norwegian chironomid-based transfer function (r 2 = 0.91; RMSEP = 1.01 °C) to infer mean July air temperature over the last 200 years, using chironomid assemblages in a core collected from a polluted, nutrient-enriched lake at Speke Hall, Liverpool, England. The chironomid-inferred temperatures correlate significantly with the local instrumental temperature record and follow long-term national temperature trends. These results show that chironomids can be used to produce reliable estimates of past mean July air temperature, even when other variables have also influenced the composition of the chironomid community. These findings underline the value of chironomids as sensitive and reliable quantitative proxies for summer temperature.


Chironomid Holocene Temperature reconstruction Northwest England Instrumental records Paleolimnology 



We thank Edge Hill University RDF for funding this work, Ian Ford (National Trust) for site access to Speke Hall, Professor John Birks (University of Bergen) for advice on statistics and permission for use of the Norwegian inference model. We also acknowledge contributions from Dr. Angela Self (Natural History Museum, London) for advice on numerical analysis, Richard Telford (University of Bergen) for advice on goodness-of-fit procedures, and two anonymous reviewers whose comments improved this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10933_2017_9995_MOESM1_ESM.docx (67 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 66 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Lang
    • 1
  • A. S. Medeiros
    • 2
  • A. Worsley
    • 1
  • A. Bedford
    • 3
  • S. J. Brooks
    • 4
  1. 1.Strata EnvironmentalWester RossScotland, UK
  2. 2.Robarts Centre for Canadian StudiesYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Biology DepartmentEdge Hill UniversityOrmskirkUK
  4. 4.Department of Life SciencesNatural History MuseumLondonUK

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