Climate of the Little Ice Age and the past 2000 years in northeast Iceland inferred from chironomids and other lake sediment proxies

Axford, Yarrow, Geirsdóttir, Áslaug, Miller, Gifford H. and Langdon, Peter G. (2009) Climate of the Little Ice Age and the past 2000 years in northeast Iceland inferred from chironomids and other lake sediment proxies. Journal of Paleolimnology, 41, (1), 7-24. (doi:10.1007/s10933-008-9251-1).


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A sedimentary record from lake Stora
Viðarvatn in northeast Iceland records environmental
changes over the past 2000 years. Downcore data
include chironomid (Diptera: Chironomidae) assemblage
data and total organic carbon, nitrogen, and
biogenic silica content. Sample scores from detrended
correspondence analysis (DCA) of chironomid
assemblage data are well correlated with measured
temperatures at Stykkisho´lmur over the 170 year
instrumental record, indicating that chironomid
assemblages at Stora Viðarvatn have responded sensitively
to past temperature changes. DCA scores
appear to be useful for quantitatively inferring past
temperatures at this site. In contrast, a quantitative
chironomid-temperature transfer function developed
for northwestern Iceland does a relatively poor job of
reconstructing temperature shifts, possibly due to the
lake’s large size and depth relative to the calibration
sites or to the limited resolution of the subfossil
taxonomy. The pre-instrumental climate history
inferred from chironomids and other paleolimnological
proxies is supported by prior inferences from
historical documents, glacier reconstructions, and
paleoceanographic studies. Much of the first millennium
AD was relatively warm, with temperatures
comparable to warm decades of the twentieth century.
Temperatures during parts of the tenth and eleventh
centuries AD may have been comparably warm.
Biogenic silica concentrations declined, carbon:nitrogen
ratios increased, and some chironomid taxa
disappeared from the lake between the thirteenth and
nineteenth centuries, recording the decline of temperatures
into the Little Ice Age, increasing soil erosion,
and declining lake productivity. All the proxy reconstructions
indicate that the most severe Little Ice Age
conditions occurred during the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries, a period historically associated with
maximum sea-ice and glacier extent around Iceland.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1007/s10933-008-9251-1
ISSNs: 0921-2728 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: iceland, holocene paleoclimate, little ice age, chironomidae, midges, paleolimnology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Geography > Environmental Processes and Change
ePrint ID: 64869
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
January 2009Published
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:49

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