Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 109–123 | Cite as

Diatom transfer-functions for quantifying past air temperature, pH and total organic carbon concentration from lakes in northern Sweden

  • Peter Roseacute;n
  • Roland Hall
  • Tom Korsman
  • Ingemar Renberg


The relationships between diatoms (Bacillariophyceae) in surface sediments of lakes and summer air temperature, pH and total organic carbon concentration (TOC) were explored along a steep climatic gradient in northern Sweden to provide a tool to infer past climate conditions from sediment cores. The study sites are in an area with low human impact and range from boreal forest to alpine tundra. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) constrained to mean July air temperature and pH clearly showed that diatom community composition was different between lakes situated in conifer-, mountain birch- and alpine-vegetation zones. As a consequence, diatoms and multivariate ordination methods can be used to infer past changes in treeline position and dominant forest type. Quantitative inference models were developed to estimate mean July air temperature, pH and TOC from sedimentary diatom assemblages using weighted averaging (WA) and weighted averaging partial least squares (WA-PLS) regression. Relationships between diatoms and mean July air temperature were independent of lake-water pH, TOC, alkalinity and maximum depth. The results demonstrated that diatoms in lake sediments can provide useful and independent quantitative information for estimating past changes in mean July air temperature (R2jack = 0.62, RMSEP = 0.86 °C; R2 and root mean squared error of prediction (RMSEP) based on jack-knifing), pH (R2jack = 0.61, RMSEP = 0.30) and TOC (R2jack = 0.49, RMSEP = 1.33 mg l-1). The paper focuses mainly on the relationship between diatom community composition and mean July air temperature, but the relationships to pH and TOC are also discussed.

diatoms climate change temperature pH transfer functions lake sediments 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Roseacute;n
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roland Hall
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tom Korsman
    • 3
  • Ingemar Renberg
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Abisko Scientific Research StationClimate Impacts Research CentreAbiskoSweden
  3. 3.Department of Ecology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  4. 4.Department of Ecology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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