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Climate Dynamics

, Volume 6, Issue 3–4, pp 179–184 | Cite as

Fossil-pollen evidence for abrupt climate changes during the past 18 000 years in eastern North America

  • Eric C Grimm
  • George L JacobsonJr
Glacial/Holocene Change

Abstract

A quantitative measure of the rate at which fossil-pollen abundances changed over the last 18 000 years at 18 sites spread across eastern North America distinguishes local from regionally synchronous changes. Abrupt regional changes occurred at most sites in late-glacial time (at ≈13700, ≈ 12 300, and ≈ 10000 radiocarbon yr BP) and during the last 1000 years. The record of abrupt late-glacial vegetation changes in eastern North America correlates well with abrupt global changes in ice-sheet volume, mountain snow-lines, North Atlantic deep-water production, atmospheric CO2, and atmospheric dust, although the palynological signal varies from site to site. Changes in vegetation during most of the Holocene, although locally significant, were not regionally synchronous. The analysis reveals non-alpine evidence for Neoglacial/Little Ice Age climate change during the last 1000 years, which was the only time during the Holocene when climate change was of sufficient magnitude to cause a synchronous vegetational response throughout the subcontinent. During the two millennia preceding this widespread synchronous change, the rate of change at all sites was low and the average rate of change was the lowest of the Holocene.

Keywords

Climate Change Dust North America Holocene Vegetational Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric C Grimm
    • 1
  • George L JacobsonJr
    • 2
  1. 1.Illinois State Museum, Research and Collections CenterSpringfieldUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant Biology and Institute for Quaternary StudiesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA

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