Here we report a new quantitative mean July temperature reconstruction using non-biting midges (chironomids) from the Danish Last Interglacial (LIG) site Hollerup (spanning 127–116 ka). We find that peak mean July temperatures of 17.5 °C, similar to those of the present day (1961–1990 CE), were reached shortly before the onset of the regional Carpinus pollen zone. Through comparison to terrestrial and marine sequences we demonstrate that peak summer warmth took place some three millennia after the onset of LIG warming in Europe, a marked delay in line with records from the North Atlantic. Crucially, the warmest northern European summer temperatures appear to follow maximum Greenland Ice Sheet mass loss, implying that meltwater substantially reduced Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and depressed European temperatures during the early part of the interglacial.

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