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Midge-inferred temperature reconstructions and vegetation change over the last ~15,000 years from Trout Lake, northern Yukon Territory, eastern Beringia

Abstract

Two cores from Trout Lake, northern Yukon, yielded quantitative estimates of summer air temperatures using fossil midge larvae. Warming began around 14,400 cal yr BP, with inferred mean July air temperatures reaching values warmer than present by 12,800 cal yr BP. A 1 °C cooling from 12,200 to 11,200 cal yr BP closely corresponds with the Younger Dryas chronozone. A broad temperature maximum occurred between 10,800 and 9,800 cal yr BP, with mean July air temperature about 2.2 °C warmer than present. This represents an early Holocene thermal maximum and coincides with increased organic content of the sediment. Both the shallow- and deep-water cores show similar temperature trends for their overlapping periods. The inferred rise in mean July air temperature at 14,200 cal yr BP coincides with a shift in vegetation from an herb- to shrub-dominated landscape. In contrast, the increase in Alnus pollen at 6,400 cal yr BP does not coincide with a change in temperature, but may be a response to a rise in precipitation.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by a Collaborative Research Opportunity grant and a Discovery grant to LCC from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. M. Abbott, E. Barley, J. Racca, and I.R. Walker assisted with the fieldwork. B. Whitney provided technical assistance in the lab. We thank J. Kurek for advice and for permission to use his data from Hanging Lake, and four anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier draft.

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Correspondence to Les C. Cwynar.

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This is one of 18 papers published in a special issue edited by Darrell Kaufman, and dedicated to reconstructing Holocene climate and environmental change from arctic lake sediments.

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Irvine, F., Cwynar, L.C., Vermaire, J.C. et al. Midge-inferred temperature reconstructions and vegetation change over the last ~15,000 years from Trout Lake, northern Yukon Territory, eastern Beringia. J Paleolimnol 48, 133–146 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10933-012-9612-7

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Keywords

  • Beringia
  • Chironomids
  • Holocene thermal maximum
  • Midges
  • Pollen
  • Younger Dryas