Tracking climate signals in varved lake sediments: research strategy and key sites for comprehensive process studies in the Masurian Lakeland

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Abstract

Lake sediments are excellent archives of environmental and climate change. Especially important are varved sediments which can provide high-resolution (annual) records of those changes. Process studies including limnological measurements, particle flux monitoring and analyses of sediment structures give an opportunity to explain relationships between meteorological conditions, in-lake processes and varve formation. In our study, three lakes were selected in the Masurian Lakeland: Lake Żabińskie, Łazduny and Rzęśniki. These relatively small and deep lakes contain well preserved biogenic varves. The lakes are influenced by the same meteorological conditions but differ in terms of their catchment size, land use, hydrology, lake basin morphology and trophic status. To explore the relationships between different parameters and preservation/transformation of climate signals in the sediments we started systematic limnological measurements in the water column of these lakes, water sampling for hydrochemical analyses, monitoring of modern sedimentation using sediment traps and analysis of topmost varves from short sediment cores. With this comprehensive and high-resolution monitoring program scheduled for at least four years we are going to verify the potential of varves to track short-term meteorological phenomena in lake sediments.

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