A new centennial scale benthic foraminiferal record of late Holocene climate variability and oceanographic changes off West Greenland (Disko Bugt) highlights substantial subsurface water mass changes (e.g. temperature and salinity) of the West Greenland Current (WGC) over the past 3.6 ka BP. Benthic foraminifera reveal a long-term late Holocene cooling trend, which may be attributed to increased advection of cold, low-salinity water masses derived from the East Greenland Current (EGC). Cooling becomes most pronounced from c. 1.7 ka BP onwards. At this point the calcareous Atlantic benthic foraminiferal fauna decrease significantly and is replaced by an agglutinated Arctic fauna. Superimposed on this cooling trend, centennial scale variability in the WGC reveals a marked cold phase at c. 2.5 ka BP, which may correspond to the 2.7 ka BP cooling-event recorded in marine and terrestrial archives elsewhere in the North Atlantic region. A warm phase recognized at c. 1.8 ka BP is likely to correspond to the 'Roman Warm Period' and represents the warmest bottom water conditions. During the time period of the 'Medieval Climate Anomaly' we observe only a slight warming of the WGC. A progressively more dominant cold water contribution from the EGC on the WGC is documented by the prominent rise in abundance of agglutinated Arctic water species from 0.9 ka BP onwards. This cooling event culminates at c. 0.3 ka BP and represents the coldest episode of the 'Little Ice Age'.Gradually increased influence of cold, low-salinity water masses derived from the EGC may be linked to enhanced advection of Polar and Arctic water by the EGC. These changes are possibly associated with a reported shift in the large-scale North Atlantic Oscillation atmospheric circulation pattern towards a more frequent negative North Atlantic Oscillation mode during the late Holocene.
- Programområde 5: Natur og klima