A multi-proxy investigation of late-Holocene temperature change and climate-driven fluctuations in sediment sourcing: Simpson Lagoon, Alaska

Andrea J.M. Hanna, Timothy M. Shanahan, Mead A. Allison, Thomas S. Bianchi, Kathryn M Schreiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


The significant and ongoing environmental changes in Arctic regions demonstrate the need for quantitative, high-resolution records of pre-industrial climate change in this climatically sensitive region; such records are fundamental for understanding recent anthropogenic changes in the context of natural variability. Sediment contained within Arctic coastal environments proximal to large fluvial systems has the ability to record paleoclimate variability on subdecadal to decadal scale resolution, on par with many other terrestrial climate archives (i.e. lake sediments, ice cores). Here, we utilize one such sediment archive from Simpson Lagoon, Alaska, located adjacent to the Colville River Delta to reconstruct temperature variability and fluctuations in sediment sourcing over the past 1700 years. Quantitative reconstructions of summer air temperature are obtained using the branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether (brGDGT)-derived methylation index of branched tetraethers (MBT’)/cyclization ratio of branched tetraether (CBT) paleothermometer and reveal temperature departures correlative with noted climate events (i.e. ‘Little Ice Age’, ‘Medieval Climate Anomaly’). In addition, temporal variability in sediment sourcing to the lagoon, determined using a multi-proxy approach (i.e. granulometry, elemental analysis, clay mineralogy), broadly corresponds with temperature fluctuations, indicating relative increases in fluvial sediment discharge during colder intervals and decreased river discharge/increased coastal erosion during warmer periods. The Simpson Lagoon record presented in this study is the first temperature reconstruction, to our knowledge, developed from coastal marine sediments in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)984-997
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • Alaska
  • Arctic
  • Colville Delta
  • Estuarine sediments
  • late Holocene
  • paleoclimate

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