Holocene Climate in Northwest Greenland Inferred from Oxygen Isotopes of Preserved Aquatic Organic Material
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Oxygen isotopes of paleo lake-water archived in subfossil aquatic organic material offer new insights into Arctic Holocene climate history. Here we present new constraints on the timing and magnitude of Holocene climate change in NW Greenland inferred from δ18O of chironomid head capsules, Cladocera ephippia, and aquatic macrophytes. δ18O of chironomids from surface sediments of multiple lakes in the region show consistent enrichment relative to lake-water (-18 to -22 ‰), on the order of 23 ‰. Lake-water δ18O collected during the summer of 2014 is comparable to modern and historical seasonal local meteoric water, and landscape position suggests dominantly precipitation inputs. Sediment cores recovered from two small, non-glacial lakes in 2014 near Thule Air Base capture continuous 7.7 kyr and 10.4 kyr records. δ18O of chironomids and macrophytes from Secret Lake decreases after 6 ka by 3 ‰ into the Neoglacial. Early Holocene values from Wax Lips Lake (informal name) are 3 to 4 ‰ higher than modern and decrease to the present, except for a large negative excursion ~5 ka. This is contemporaneous with a major change in stratigraphy and the hypothesized transient incursion of a regional, ice-dammed glacial lake system. At both lakes, declining δ18O from the early/middle to late Holocene is clearly recorded in multiple aquatic materials and is greater in magnitude than the mid to late Holocene changes in δ18O of the nearest ice core records (Agassiz and Camp Century, ~2 ‰). The temperature change of 4 to 6 °C inferred from this new δ18O approach is also larger than, but within the error of, chironomid assemblage based temperatures from Wax Lips Lake by McFarlin et al. (this meeting). This may indicate larger temperature changes at the ice sheet’s margin than inferred from high-elevation ice core sites and/or some overprinting by enhanced evaporation of lake-water in the warmer climate of the early Holocene.