8000 years of North Atlantic storminess reconstructed from a Scottish peat record: implications for Holocene atmospheric circulation patterns in Western Europe

North Atlantic storminess can affect human settlements, infrastructure and transport links, all of which strongly impact local, national and global economies. An increase in storm frequency and intensity is predicted over the Northeast Atlantic in the 21st century because of a northward shift in storm tracks and a persistently positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), driven by recent atmospheric warming. Although documentary records of North Atlantic storminess exist, these are generally limited to the last c. 1000‐2000 years. This paper presents a continuous high‐resolution proxy record of storminess spanning the last 8000 years from a 6 m long core taken from a peat bog in Northern Scotland. Bromine concentrations in the peat, derived from sea spray, are used to reconstruct storm frequency and storm intensity, and mire surface wetness is used as an indicator of longer‐term climate shifts. The results suggest a relationship between positive phases of the NAO and increased North Atlantic storminess. However, subtle differences between bromine concentrations and mire surface wetness suggest that high intensity but perhaps less frequent periods of storminess are not necessarily associated with a wetter climate.