Foraminiferal reconstruction of mid- to late-Holocene ocean circulation and climate variability in Disko Bugt, West Greenland

Jeremy M. Lloyd, Antoon Kuijpers, Antony Long, Matthias Moros, Laura A. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Benthic foraminifera from two cores collected from Disko Bugt, a large marine embayment in West Greenland, are used to investigate hydrographic changes during the mid to late Holocene. The records document fluctuations in the West Greenland Current (WGC) linked to large-scale changes in North Atlantic circulation and, for one core, impacts of local climate changes. In particular, changes in the cold East Greenland Current (EGC) and the warm, more saline Irminger Current (IC) influence the WGC and propagate into Disko Bugt. The cores record subsurface warming associated with the 'Holocene Thermal Maximum' (HTM) from c. 6 to 5 ka cal. BP. Gradual cooling of WGC from 5 ka cal. BP was interrupted by an abrupt warm interval from 3.9 to 3.5 ka cal. BP, before cooling became more prominent from 3.5 to 2 ka cal. BP. This cold period corresponds to the well-documented Northern Hemisphere cooling of the neoglacial and we interpret it as reflecting enhanced flux from the EGC and reduced IC flux to the WGC in Disko Bugt. Colder subsurface conditions from 3.5 ka cal. BP correspond to major hydrographic and climate changes elsewhere in West Greenland, reflecting the final transition from HTM to the neoglacial in this region. Relatively warm conditions identified from c. 2.0 to 1.4 ka cal. BP are followed by gradual cooling to 0.7 ka cal. BP, interrupted by a brief warm episode around 1 ka cal. BP. The late-Holocene fluctuations in WGC recorded in Disko Bugt can be linked to North Atlantic oceanographic changes identified on the East Greenland and North Icelandic shelf.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1079-1091
Number of pages13
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007


  • Climate variability
  • Disko Bugt
  • Foraminifera
  • Hydrographic variability
  • Ocean circulation
  • West Greenland

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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