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The ACER pollen and charcoal database: A global resource to document vegetation and fire response to abrupt climate changes during the last glacial period

December 7, 2017

Quaternary records provide an opportunity to examine the nature of the vegetation and fire responses to rapid past climate changes comparable in velocity and magnitude to those expected in the 21st century. The best documented examples of rapid climate change in the past are the warming events associated with the Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) cycles during the last glacial period, which were sufficiently large to have had a potential feedback through changes in albedo and greenhouse gas emissions on climate. Previous reconstructions of vegetation and fire changes during the D-O cycles used independently constructed age models, making it difficult to compare the changes between different sites and regions. Here we present the ACER (Abrupt Climate Changes and Environmental Responses) global database which includes 93 pollen records from the last glacial period (73–15 ka) with a temporal resolution better than 1,000 years, 32 of which also provide charcoal records. A harmonized and consistent chronology based on radiometric dating (¹⁴C, ²³⁴U/²³⁰Th, OSL, ⁴⁰Ar/³⁹Ar dated tephra layers) has been constructed for 86 of these records, although in some cases additional information was derived using common control points based on event stratigraphy. The ACER database compiles metadata including geospatial and dating information, pollen and charcoal counts and pollen percentages of the characteristic biomes, and is archived in Microsoft AccessTM at doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.870867.