, 4:8 | Cite as

Sea-ice variability in the subarctic North Pacific and adjacent Bering Sea during the past 25 ka: new insights from IP25 and Uk′37 proxy records

  • Marie Méheust
  • Ruediger SteinEmail author
  • Kirsten Fahl
  • Rainer Gersonde
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. PAST Gateways


This study focusses on the last glacial–deglacial–Holocene spatial and temporal variability in sea-ice cover based on organic geochemical analyses of marine sediment cores from the subarctic Pacific and the Bering Sea. By means of the sea-ice proxy “IP25” and phytoplankton-derived biomarkers (specific sterols and alkenones), we reconstruct the spring sea-ice conditions, (summer) sea-surface temperature (SST) and primary productivity, respectively. The large variability of sea ice was explained by a combination of local and global factors, such as solar insolation, global climate anomalies and sea-level changes controlling the oceanographic circulation and water mass exchange between the subarctic Pacific and the Bering Sea. During the Last Glacial Maximum, extensive sea-ice cover prevailed over large part of the subarctic Pacific and the Bering Sea. The following deglaciation is characterized by a rapid sea-ice advance and retreat. During cold periods (Heinrich Stadial 1 and Younger Dryas) seasonal sea-ice cover generally coincided with low alkenone SSTs and low primary productivity. Conversely, during warmer intervals (Bølling/Allerød, Early Holocene) reduced sea-ice or ice-free conditions prevailed in the study area. At the northern Bering Sea continental shelf a late-Early/Mid Holocene shift to marginal sea-ice conditions is in line with the simultaneous wide-spread sea-ice recovery observed in the other Arctic marginal seas and is likely initiated by the lower Northern Hemisphere insolation and surface-water cooling.


Last glacial to Holocene Sea-ice cover Biomarkers North Pacific Bering Sea 



This study is a contribution to the international INOPEX (Innovative North Pacific Experiment) Project funded by the German Ministry of Education and Science (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) and the German Research Foundation (DFG), project STE412/25. We thank the captain of the research vessel R/V Sonne, L. Mallon, as well as the crew members and the scientists on board for their remarkable work. Thanks also go to W. Luttmer and S. Wassmuth for technical support in the laboratory. We thank two anonymous reviewers for numerous constructive suggestions for improvement of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 53 KB)
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Supplementary material 2 (PDF 45 KB)
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Supplementary material 3 (PDF 46 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Marine GeologyAlfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.MARUM and Faculty of GeosciencesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany

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