Rapid 20th century environmental change on northeastern Baffin Island, Arctic Canada inferred from a multi-proxy lacustrine record

Elizabeth K. Thomas, Yarrow Axford, Jason P. Briner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Arctic has a disproportionately large response to changes in radiative forcing of climate, and arctic lacustrine ecosystems respond sensitively to these changes. The goal of this research is to generate high-resolution climate records for the past two millennia using multiple proxies in order to place 20th and 21st century climate and environmental change into a long-term context. We use a 14 C- and 210 Pb-dated surface core from Lake CF8 on northeastern Baffin Island, Arctic Canada to generate a high-resolution multiproxy reconstruction of climate and environmental change. Throughout the late Holocene, primary productivity in Lake CF8 was low, but increased almost 20-fold in the past 200 years. Insect (Chironomidae) assemblages also show dramatic changes since 1950 AD, with cold stenothermous chironomid taxa disappearing from the record altogether. These changes in productivity and chironomid assemblages are unprecedented in the past 5,000 years. The dramatic ecological shifts that occurred at Lake CF8 have also been observed elsewhere in the Arctic, and will likely continue at ever-increasing rates as anthropogenic inputs of green house gases continue to cause climate warming and enhanced lacustrine primary production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-517
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

Keywords

  • Anthropocene
  • Arctic
  • Chironomids
  • Climate change
  • Lake sediments
  • Late Holocene
  • Paleolimnology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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