Insolation and greenhouse gases drove Holocene winter and spring warming in Arctic Alaska

TitleInsolation and greenhouse gases drove Holocene winter and spring warming in Arctic Alaska
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsLongo, WM, Huang, Y, Russell, JM, Morrill, C, Daniels, WC, Giblin, AE, Crowther, J
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Date PublishedJan-08-2020
KeywordsAlkenone, Beringia, Continental biomarkers, Holocene, North America, paleoclimatology, paleolimnology, Proxy data-model comparison, seasonality, Temperature reconstruction

Global surface temperature changes and their drivers during the Holocene Epoch remain controversial. Syntheses of proxy data indicate that global mean annual temperature declined from the mid-Holocene until the Pre-industrial Era, a trend linked to decreasing Northern Hemisphere summer insolation. In contrast, global climate models simulate increasing mean annual temperatures driven by retreating ice sheets and increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. This proxy-model disagreement may originate from a warm season bias in Northern Hemisphere proxy reconstructions, highlighting the need for new proxies that quantify cold season temperature, especially in Arctic regions that were devoid of continental ice sheets during the Holocene. Here, we present a new 16,000-year winter-spring temperature reconstruction derived from the unsaturation ratio of alkenones (U-3(7)K) in a continuous sedimentary sequence from Lake E5, northern Alaska. We employ a thermodynamic lake model to convert alkenone-inferred lake temperatures into winter-spring air temperature anomalies and we contextualize our proxy reconstruction with climate model output from the region. Our reconstruction shows that winter-spring temperatures warmed rapidly during the deglaciation at 16 and 14 thousand years before present and continued to warm gradually throughout the middle and late Holocene (0.12-0.28 degrees C/thousand years) in concert with regional sea surface temperature and sea ice records. Our results are consistent with climate model simulations and we attribute Holocene warming to rising winter-spring insolation, radiative forcing from rising greenhouse gas concentrations and regional feedbacks. Our reconstructed cold season warming equaled or exceeded summer cooling according to a regional synthesis of temperature records, suggesting that seasonal biases in temperature reconstructions may account for proxy-model disagreements in Holocene temperature trends from Eastern Beringia. (C) 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.