Deciphering climatic history from lake sediments

Sherilyn C. Fritz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Reconstructing climate from lake sediments can be challenging, because the response of lakes and various components of lake systems are mediated by non-climatic factors, such as geomorphic and hydrologic stetting. As a result, the magnitude of lake response to climatic forcing may be non-linear. In addition, changes in the lake system associated with the aging process or non-climatic influences may alter the response to a given climate perturbation. These non-linear and non-stationary characteristics can produce spatial heterogeneity in the pattern and timing of inferred change. One approach for generating regionally robust climatic interpretations from lakes is to increase coordinated efforts to generate and synthesize large data sets, so that localized influences can be more clearly distinguished from broad-scale regional patterns. This approach will be most successful for evaluating climate variation at multi-decadal or longer temporal scales; the climatic interpretation of higher frequency limnological variation can be more complicated, because of dating uncertainties and differential response times of individual proxies and systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments I thank John Smol and Bill Last for encouraging me to submit this manuscript and Frank Aeby, Erik Ekdahl, Jeffery Stone, and Karlyn Westover for assistance with figures. A Bullard Fellowship at Harvard Forest (Harvard University) and NSF Grant EAR-0602154 provided partial support during the writing of this paper.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Lake-level change
  • Lakes
  • Paleoclimate
  • Paleohydrology
  • Paleolimnology
  • Salinity


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