Abstract

We report new radiocarbon ages, pollen stratigraphy, and botanical composition of an organic sediment sequence from mountains along the northwestern side of Lake Baikal. The calendar age of the peat is ca. 9.5 kyr BP. The pollen spectra between 9.5 and 8.5 kyr ago show vegetation consisting mostly of open larch and spruce-larch forests with minor birch. The interval from 7.5 to 6.8 kyr BP is marked by broad fir spread confirmed also by the peat botanical composition. The climate inferred for the period of fir dominance combines mild winters, cool summers, thick snow cover, and abundant moisture, apparently due to more intense North Atlantic air transport. Fir percentages decrease dramatically after 6.8 kyr BP, when pines begin to spread in the Baikal watershed. The peat record bears imprint of North Atlantic cooling events identified as intervals of ice-rafted detritus deposition and low surface water temperatures. The new data allow a better insight into the regional climate and landscapes, and the reliable age model provides regional and inter-regional correlations of global change events.

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