Holocene Climate Change in Arctic Canada and Greenland
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
We summarize the spatial and temporal pattern of climate change through the Holocene in Arctic Canada and Greenland. Our synthesis includes 47 records from a recent database of highly resolved, quantitative Holocene climate records from the Arctic (Sundqvist et al., 2014). We plot the temperature histories represented by the records in the database and compare them with paleoclimate information based on 53 additional records. Combined, the records include a variety of climate proxy types that range from ice (ice cores), land (lake and peat sequences) and marine (ocean sediment cores and coastal sediments) environments. The temperature-sensitive records indicate more consistent and earlier Holocene warmth in the north and east, and a more diffuse and later Holocene thermal maximum in the south and west. Principal components analysis reveals two dominant Holocene trends, one with early Holocene warmth followed by cooling in the middle Holocene, the other with a broader period of warmth in the middle Holocene followed by cooling in the late Holocene. The temperature decrease from the warmest to the coolest portions of the Holocene is 3.0±1.0°C on average (n=11 records). The Greenland Ice Sheet retracted to its minimum extent between 5 and 3 ka, consistent with many sites from around Greenland depicting a switch from warm to cool conditions around that time. The spatial pattern of temperature change through the Holocene was likely driven by the decrease in northern latitude summer insolation through the Holocene, the varied influence of waning ice sheets in the early Holocene, and the variable influx of Atlantic Water into the study region.