Holocene lake sediment records of Arctic hydrology

TitleHolocene lake sediment records of Arctic hydrology
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsMacDonald, GM, Felzer, B, Finney, BP, Forman, SL
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
KeywordsArctic, Climate change, Holocene, paleohydrology, paleolimnology

Although paleoclimatic research in the Arctic has most often focused on variations in temperature, the Arctic has also experienced changes in hydrologic balance. Changes in Arctic precipitation and evaporation rates affects soils, permafrost, lakes, wetlands, rivers, ice and vegetation. Changes in Arctic soils, permafrost, runoff, and vegetation can influence global climate by changing atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide concentrations, thermohaline circulation, and high latitude albedo. Documenting past variations in Arctic hydrological conditions is important for understanding Arctic climate and the potential response and role of the Arctic in regards to future climate change. Methods for reconstructing past changes in Arctic hydrology from the stratigraphic, isotopic, geochemical and fossil records of lake sediments are being developed, refined and applied in a number of regions. These records suggest that hydrological variations in the Arctic have been regionally asynchronous, reflecting the impacts of different forcing factors including orbitally controlled insolation changes, changes in geography related to coastal emergence, ocean currents, sea ice extent, and atmospheric circulation. Despite considerable progress, much work remains to be done on the development of paleohydrological proxies and their application to the Arctic.