Warm-water events in the eastern Fram Strait during the last 2000 years as revealed by different microfossil groups
The environmental system of the northern Nordic Seas is very sensitive to oceanographic and climatic changes at the contact of cold Arctic and warmer North Atlantic waters. These contrasts are reflected in the associations of marine microorganisms and archived in the bottom sediments. A microfossil study (diatoms, coccoliths) of late Holocene sediments in core MSM5/5-712-1 from the eastern Fram Strait provides a better understanding of marine ecosystems and palaeoenvironments during Arctic warming events of the last two millennia. Indicative diatom species and groups of species revealed a high variability of sea-surface conditions. Based on the diatom distribution, three warming periods could be detected, corresponding to the time intervals of 0 to 440 CE (the later part of the Roman Warm Period), 1200 to1420 CE (the final part of the Medieval Climate Anomaly) and 1730 CE to present (including the Recent Warming). The various micropalaeontological proxies used in this study and other publications describe the Roman Warm Period and, especially, the Recent Warming as the most pronounced warm events in the area during the last 2000 years. A comparison of data from the different microfossil groups, indicators of seasurface and subsurface conditions, reveals variable, complicated and non-simultaneous palaeoenvironmental signals within the warm periods. This can potentially be explained by changes in the surface/subsurface water structure during the events (variations in the cold/ warm water advection, stratification, availability of nutrients, seasonal succession of bioproductivity, etc.), which are reflected by changes in the microplankton communities.
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