The climatic space of European pollen taxa


Pollen data are widely used to reconstruct past climate changes, using relationships between modern pollen abundance in surface samples and climate at the surface sample sites. Visualisation of these data in multi-dimensional climate space provides an important way to establish that pollen taxon abundances are well-behaved before using them in climate reconstructions, but visualisation can also be helpful for ecological interpretation of the pollen diagrams. Here we present data created using Generalized Additive Models (GAMs) on the distribution of 195 European pollen taxa in climate space defined by seasonal temperature, as defined by the mean temperature of the coldest month (MTCO) and growing degree days above a baseline of 0°C (GDD0), and an annual moisture index (MI) expressed as the ratio of annual precipitation to annual potential evapotranspiration. These models can be used to explore the realised climate niche of individual pollen taxa and to build statistical models for climate reconstruction.

Link to dataset:

  • Wei, Dongyang, Harrison, Sandy and Prentice, Iain Colin (2019): The climatic space of European pollen taxa. University of Reading. Dataset.


  •  Wei, D., González-Sampériz, P., Gil-Romera, G., Harrison, S. P., and Prentice, I. C.: Climate changes in interior semi-arid Spain from the last interglacial to the late Holocene, Clim. Past Discuss.,, 2019.
  • Harrison, S.P. Modern Pollen Data for Climate Reconstructions, version 1 (SMPDS). University of Reading Dataset., 2019.