The influence of temperature, moisture, and eolian activity on Holocene lake development in West Greenland

Bianca B. Perren, N. John Anderson, Marianne S.V. Douglas, Sherilyn C. Fritz

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40 Scopus citations


Holocene paleolimnological records (diatoms, organic content, spectrally inferred sediment chlorophyll-a) from three West Greenland lakes (~67°N) situated along a transect from the outer coast to a nunatak at the periphery of the Greenland Ice Sheet are used to explore the nature of regional postglacial lake development and its relationship to Holocene climate evolution. The lakes were deglaciated asynchronously by approximately 4 ka (earliest on the coast) and thus their sediment records document different starting points of Holocene ontogeny, both temporally and paleoclimatically. Despite similar time-transgressive characteristics of the diatom stratigraphies, overarching climatic factors, principally effective moisture, and eolian inputs, govern individual lake development. The transition to Neoglaciation between 5. 6 and 4 ka BP marks a shift toward a cooler, moister, windier climate from the aridity and higher temperatures of the mid-Holocene (8-6 ka BP). A shift toward increased aridity, windiness, and eolian activity is documented in the interior lakes over the last 500 years. These lake records demonstrate the sensitivity of freshwater lakes in arid regions to changes in effective moisture and highlight the role of wind and eolian activity in Arctic lake environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-239
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by NSF Grant 0081226 to SCF, and by a NSERC discovery grant to MSVD. 210Pb analyses were provided by Peter Appleby at the University of Liverpool. MS data were supplied by Amy Whittle (née Clarke) at the University of Liverpool. TOC and C:N data from ss49 were kindly provided by Billy D’Andrea. We thank Charly Massa for assistance with age-depth modelling and Alexander Wolfe for SEM images.


  • Arctic
  • Diatoms
  • Holocene
  • Lake ontogeny
  • West Greenland

Continental Scientific Drilling Facility tags

  • SSG


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