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Mild Little Ice Age and unprecedented recent warmth in an 1800 year lake sediment record from Svalbard

William J. D'Andrea, David A. Vaillencourt, Nicholas L. Balascio, Al Werner, Steven R. Roof, Michael Retelle and Raymond S. Bradley
Mild Little Ice Age and unprecedented recent warmth in an 1800 year lake sediment record from Svalbard
Geology (Boulder) (September 2012) 40 (11): 1007-1010


The Arctic region is subject to a great amplitude of climate variability and is currently undergoing large-scale changes due in part to anthropogenic global warming. Accurate projections of future change depend on anticipating the response of the Arctic climate system to forcing, and understanding how the response to human forcing will interact with natural climate variations. The Svalbard Archipelago occupies an important location for studying patterns and causes of Arctic climate variability; however, available paleoclimate records from Svalbard are of restricted use due to limitations of existing climate proxies. Here we present a sub-decadal- to multidecadal-scale record of summer temperature for the past 1800 yr from lake sediments of Kongressvatnet on West Spitsbergen, Svalbard, based on the first instrumental calibration of the alkenone paleothermometer. The age model for the High Arctic lake sediments is based on (super 210) Pb, plutonium activity, and the first application of tephrochronology to lake sediments in this region. We find that the summer warmth of the past 50 yr recorded in both the instrumental and alkenone records was unmatched in West Spitsbergen in the course of the past 1800 yr, including during the Medieval Climate Anomaly, and that summers during the Little Ice Age (LIA) of the 18 (super th) and 19 (super th) centuries on Svalbard were not particularly cold, even though glaciers occupied their maximum Holocene extent. Our results suggest that increased wintertime precipitation, rather than cold temperatures, was responsible for LIA glaciations on Svalbard and that increased heat transport into the Arctic via the West Spitsbergen Current began ca. A.D. 1600.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 40
Serial Issue: 11
Title: Mild Little Ice Age and unprecedented recent warmth in an 1800 year lake sediment record from Svalbard
Affiliation: University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Department of Geosciences, Amherst, MA, United States
Pages: 1007-1010
Published: 20120918
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 40
Accession Number: 2012-101265
Categories: Quaternary geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: With GSA Data Repository Item 2012283; accessed on October 15, 2012
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table, sketch map
Source Medium: WWW
N74°25'00" - N81°00'00", E10°03'00" - E30°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Mount Holyoke College, USA, United StatesHampshire College, USA, United StatesBates College, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201252
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