A reconstruction of Holocene sea ice conditions in the Fram Strait provides insight into the palaeoenvironmental and palaeoceanographic development of this climate sensitive area during the past 8500 years BP. Organic geochemical analyses of sediment cores from eastern and western Fram Strait enable the identification of variations in the ice coverage that can be linked to changes in the oceanic (and atmospheric) circulation system. By means of the sea ice proxy IP25, phytoplankton-derived biomarkers and ice rafted detritus (IRD) increasing sea ice occurrences are traced along the western continental margin of Spitsbergen throughout the Holocene, which supports previous palaeoenvironmental reconstructions that document a general cooling. A further significant ice advance during the Neoglacial is accompanied by distinct sea ice fluctuations, which point to short-term perturbations in either the Atlantic Water advection or Arctic Water outflow at this site. At the continental shelf of East Greenland, the general Holocene cooling, however, seems to be less pronounced and sea ice conditions remained rather stable. Here, a major Neoglacial increase in sea ice coverage did not occur before 1000 years BP. Phytoplankton-IP25 indices (“PIP25-Index”) are used for more explicit sea ice estimates and display a Mid Holocene shift from a minor sea ice coverage to stable ice margin conditions in eastern Fram Strait, while the inner East Greenland shelf experienced less severe to marginal sea ice occurrences throughout the entire Holocene.
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES I (2009-2013) > TOPIC 3: Lessons from the Past > WP 3.3: Proxy Development and Innovation: the Baseline for Progress in Paleoclimate Research