1,500-Year Cycle in Holocene Climate from Burial Lake, Arctic Alaska
Abstract:Millennial-scale fluctuations in climate conditions are commonly observed in Holocene paleoclimate archives, however the meaning of these variations including whether they might arise from internal or external forcing are still actively debated. Proxy evidence of millennial-scale variability is most clearly present in a few specific parts of the world (e.g. North Atlantic region), whereas a lack of evidence from many other regions may result from a lack of observations or a lack of signal. Here we present the first evidence for such variations in Arctic Alaska using sedimentological and geochemical analyses from Burial Lake (68.43°N, 159.17°W; 460 m above sea level) in the western Brooks Range. We measured biogenic silica (BSi), total organic carbon, total nitrogen, C/N ratios, dry bulk density, magnetic susceptibility and magnetic remanence measurements, and elemental abundances from scanning XRF and use radiocarbon dating on terrestrial macrofossils to establish age control. Large fluctuations in biogenic silica and related proxies at millennial time scales over the last 10,000 cal yr BP are attributed to changes in aquatic productivity, which is indirectly mediated by climate through changes in the duration of the ice-free growing season and the availability of limiting nutrients.
Spectral and wavelet analysis of the BSi record indicates a significant 1,500-yr cycle (above 95% confidence) emerges by ~6,000 cal yr BP. Comparison of BSi with reconstructed total solar irradiance reveals a low correlation (r2 = 0.01), suggesting no direct solar forcing of aquatic productivity. A comparison with Northern Hemisphere wide records shows no consistent phase relationship between the timing of maxima/minima in our BSi record. These results are consistent with previous work showing a strong middle Holocene transition into a ~1500-yr cycle. Similar timing for the emergence of an ~1500-yr cycle are found in proxies sensitive to thermohaline circulation and deep water formation, suggesting a possible link with (North Atlantic) oceanic forcing. If this observation is valid, an ocean-atmosphere interaction is needed to transmit the 1,500-yr signal to the North Pacific and/or Arctic sectors to drive millennial-scale climate variability in the Alaskan Arctic.