Bog mosses (Sphagnum species) are sensitive to the position of local water-tables on intact raised peat bogs. These peat bogs are rain-fed, receiving all their water through precipitation alone. After death, the mosses are remarkably well preserved, since they are resistant to decay, and micro-organisms that are capable of decomposing them are inhibited by the acidity and lack of oxygen in the peat pore water. Continual growth of the peat bog surface and burial of dead organic matter has led to peat sequences that can exceed 10 m in depth. Because the age of these deposits can be accurately determined by measuring their residual radiocarbon activity, they have been used by peatland scientists to reconstruct changes in climate, given the sensitivity of bog mosses to changes in temperature and rainfall. This research provides long-term evidence for climate change, given that the oldest instrumental temperature record (Central England Temperature record) goes back only as far as 1659 CE (Common Era), while the majority of instrumental records only extend to the late 19th century.
|Publication status||Published - 2001|