Arctic Holocene proxy climate database – new approaches to assessing geochronological accuracy and encoding climate variables

Type Article
Date 2014
Language English
Author(s) Sundqvist H. S.1, 2, Kaufman D. S.3, McKay N. P.3, Balascio N. L.4, Briner J. P.5, Cwynar L. C.6, Sejrup H. P.7, Seppä H.8, Subetto D. A.9, Andrews J. T.10, Axford Y.11, Bakke J.7, 12, Birks H. J. B.13, 14, 15, Brooks S. J.16, de Vernal A.17, Jennings A. E.10, Ljungqvist F. C.2, 18, Rühland K. M.19, Saenger C.20, Smol J. P.19, Viau A. E.21
Affiliation(s) 1 : Department of Physical Geography & Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
2 : Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
3 : School of Earth Sciences & Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, USA
4 : Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA
5 : Department of Geology, University at Buffalo, New York, USA
6 : Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada
7 : Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
8 : Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
9 : Northern Water Problems Institute, Karelian Research Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, Petrozavodsk, Russia
10 : Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA
11 : Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Northwestern University, Illinois, USA
12 : Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
13 : Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
14 : Environmental Change Research Centre, University College London, London, UK
15 : School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
16 : Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, London, UK
17 : GEOTOP, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada
18 : Department of History, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
19 : Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL), Department of Biology, Queen's University, Ontario, Canada
20 : Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, USA
21 : Department of Geography, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
Source Climate of the Past Discussions (1814-9359) (Copernicus GmbH), 2014 , Vol. 10 , N. 1 , P. 1-63
DOI 10.5194/cpd-10-1-2014
Abstract We present a systematic compilation of previously published Holocene proxy climate records from the Arctic. We identified 167 sites from north of 58° N latitude where proxy time-series extend back at least to 6 cal ka, are resolved at sub-millennial scale (at least one value every 400 ± 200 yr) and have age models constrained by at least one age every 3000 yr. In addition to conventional metadata for each proxy record (location, proxy type, reference), we include two novel parameters that add functionality to the database. First, "climate interpretation" is a series of fields that logically describe the specific climate variable(s) represented by the proxy record. It encodes the proxy-climate relation reported by authors of the original studies into a structured format to facilitate inter-comparison with climate model output. Second, "geochronology accuracy score" (chron score) is a numerical rating that reflects the overall accuracy of 14C-based age models from lake and marine sediments. Chron scores were calculated using the original author-reported 14C ages, which are included in this database. The database contains 315 records (some sites include multiple records) from six regions covering the circumpolar Arctic; Fennoscandia is the most densely sampled region (30% of the records), whereas only five records from the Russian Arctic met the criteria for inclusion. The database contains proxy records from lake sediment (60%), marine sediment (32%), glacier ice (5%), and other sources. Most (60%) reflect temperature (mainly summer warmth) and are primarily based on pollen, chironomid, or diatom assemblages. Many (15%) reflect some aspect of hydroclimate as inferred from changes in stable isotopes, pollen and diatom assemblages, humification index in peat, and changes in equilibrium-line altitude of glaciers. This comprehensive database can be used in future studies to investigate the spatial-temporal pattern of Arctic Holocene climate changes and their causes. The Arctic Holocene dataset is available from NOAA Paleoclimatology.
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Sundqvist H. S., Kaufman D. S., McKay N. P., Balascio N. L., Briner J. P., Cwynar L. C., Sejrup H. P., Seppä H., Subetto D. A., Andrews J. T., Axford Y., Bakke J., Birks H. J. B., Brooks S. J., de Vernal A., Jennings A. E., Ljungqvist F. C., Rühland K. M., Saenger C., Smol J. P., Viau A. E. (2014). Arctic Holocene proxy climate database – new approaches to assessing geochronological accuracy and encoding climate variables. Climate of the Past Discussions, 10(1), 1-63. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :