Reproducibility of Holocene atmospheric CO2 records based on stomatal frequency

Reproducibility of Holocene atmospheric CO2 records based on stomatal frequency

by Wagner F., Kouwenberg L. L. R., van Hoof T. B., Visscher H. (2004)

Friederike Wagner, Lenny L. R. Kouwenberg, Thomas B. van Hoof, Henk Visscher,

Palaeocology, Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 4, 3584 CD Utrecht, Netherlands


In Quaternary Science Reviews 23: 1947-1954 – –


The majority of the stomatal frequency-based estimates of CO2 for the Holocene do not support the widely accepted concept of comparably stable CO2 concentrations throughout the past 11,500 years. To address the critique that these stomatal frequency variations result from local environmental change or methodological insufficiencies, multiple stomatal frequency records were compared for three climatic key periods during the Holocene, namely the Preboreal oscillation, the 8.2 kyr cooling event and the Little Ice Age.

The highly comparable fluctuations in the palaeo-atmospheric CO2 records, which were obtained from different continents and plant species (deciduous angiosperms as well as conifers) using varying calibration approaches, provide strong evidence for the integrity of leaf-based CO2 quantification.


Consistent in all records, the shifts in stomatal frequency indicate a change in the atmospheric CO2 concentration of 20–30 ppmv associated with the Preboreal oscillation.


The two data sets consistently reveal a century-scale interval of30 ppmv CO2 concentration changes with lowest CO2 levels centred around
8.2 kyr BP.


So far, the validation of stomatal frequency as a sensitive parameter to changing CO2 concentrations has basically been performed for individual species (see, Royer, 2001 for review).

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s