Multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental studies of nine sediment sequences from four areas in north-western Russia reveal significant changes in climate, lake productivity and vegetation during the Lateglacial and early Holocene that show some degree of correlation with changes reconstructed from sites throughout the North Atlantic region. At Lake Nero in the Rostov-Jaroslavl' area, which is outside the maximum limit of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet, sedimentation recommenced shortly after 15 cal ka BP in response to increases in temperature and humidity during Greenland Interstadial 1 (GI-1; Bølling-Allerød). However, climatic amelioration during GI-1 was slow to increase lake organic productivity or trigger large-scale changes in much of northwestern Russia. In general, this region was characterised by long-lasting lake-ice cover, low lake productivity, soil erosion, and dwarf shrub and herb tundra until the end of Greenland Stadial 1 (GS-1; Younger Dryas). At some sites, distinct increases in lake organic productivity, mean summer temperatures and humidity and the expansion of forest trees coincide with rapid warming at the beginning of the Holocene and the increasing influence of warm air masses from the North Atlantic. At other sites, particularly on the Karelian Isthmus, but also in Russian Karelia, the delayed response of limnic and terrestrial environments to early Holocene warming is likely related to the cold surface waters of the Baltic Ice Lake, the proximity of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet and associated strengthened easterlies, and/or extensive permafrost and stagnant ice. These multi-proxy studies underscore the importance of local conditions in modifying the response of individual lakes and their catchments. While Lateglacial vegetation was dominated by Betula nana and Salix shrubs and various herbs, pollen and plant macrofossils suggest that Betula pubescens trees became established as early as 14-13 cal ka BP in the Rostov-Jaroslavl' area. In general, our data sets suggest that trees migrated from the southeast to the west and then spread later to the northeast and northwest, paralleling the direction of ice retreat, with Betula pubescens immigrating first, followed by Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies. However, palaeoecological records from Lake Terebenskoye in the Valdai Highlands suggest that the arrival of Picea abies preceded other trees in that area and that it colonised tundra communities as early as 12 cal ka BP. Since Lateglacial vegetation change in north-western Russia was time-transgressive, independent measures of palaeoclimate (e.g., chironomid-based palaeotemperature estimates) are needed for this region.
- Programområde 5: Natur og klima