Here we document late-Holocene climate variability in West Greenland as inferred from a marine sediment record from the outer Disko Bay. Organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts and other palynomorphs were used to reconstruct environmental changes in the area through the last c. 1500 years at 30-40 years resolution. Sea ice cover and primary productivity were identified as the two main factors driving dinoflagellate cyst community changes through time. Our data provide evidence for an opposite climate trend in West Greenland relative to the NE Atlantic region from c. AD 500 to 1050. For the same period, sea-surface temperatures in Disko Bay are out-of-phase with Greenland ice-core reconstructed temperatures and marine proxy data from South and East Greenland. This is probably governed by an NAO-type pattern, which results in warmer sea-surface conditions with less extensive sea ice in the area for the later part of the Dark Ages cold period (c. AD 500 to 750) and cooler conditions with extensive sea ice inferred for the first part of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) (c. AD 750 to 1050). After c. AD 1050, the marine climate in Disko Bay becomes in-phase with trends described for the NE Atlantic, reflected in the warmer interval for the remainder of the MCA (c. AD 1050-1250), followed by cooling towards the onset of the Little Ice Age at c. AD 1400. The inferred scenario of climate deterioration and extensive sea ice is concomitant with the collapse of the Norse Western Settlement in Greenland at c. AD 1350.
- Programområde 5: Natur og klima