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Holocene environmental variability in southern Greenland inferred from lake sediments

Kaplan, M.R., Wolfe, A.P. and Miller, G.H. 2002; Quaternary Research 58: 149-159


Sediments from Qipisarqo Lake provide a continuous Holocene paleoenvironmental record from southern Greenland. Following deglaciation and glacio-isostatic emergence of the basin from the sea not, vert, similar9100 cal yr B.P., proxies of lake paleoproductivity, including biogenic silica and organic matter, increased markedly until 6000 cal yr B.P. and thereafter remained stable over the ensuing warm three millennia. Subsequent decreases in these proxies, most dramatically between 3000 and 2000 cal yr B.P., show the lake's responses to initial Neoglacial cooling. Intervals of ameliorated limnological conditions occurred between 1300 and 900 and between 500 and 280 cal yr B.P., briefly interrupting the decreasing trend in productivity that culminated in the Little Ice Age. Increased lake productivity during the latter half of the 20th century, which reflects the limnological response to circum-arctic warming, still has not reached peak Holocene values. The Neoglacial climate of the last 2000 yr includes the most rapid high-amplitude environmental changes of the past nine millennia. The Norse thus migrated around the North Atlantic Ocean region in the most environmentally unstable period since deglaciation. Lacustrine sediment records provide a context with which to consider future environmental changes in the Labrador Sea region. In particular, any future warming will be superposed on a regional climate system that is currently exhibiting highly unstable behavior at submillennial timescales.