We present a record encompassing marine isotope stages 7-1 from a hitherto unexplored and heavily ice-covered area of the Arctic Ocean, the Lomonosov Ridge off the northern Greenland-Canada continental margin, using nannofossil and benthic foraminifera stratigraphy. Planktic foraminifera assemblages are used as a key paleoceanographic proxy, and a surprisingly large variability is found for an interior Arctic Ocean site. Abundant small (63-125 μm) subpolar Turborotalita quinqueloba occur in two sections, possibly representing substages 5e (last interglacial) and 5a (warm interstadial). However, the present-day circulation pattern and the very distant location of high productive regions cannot explain such high abundances of subpolar specimens in the interior, perennially sea ice-covered Arctic Ocean. Hence our proxy record indicates that last interglacial sea ice concentrations were reduced off some areas of northern Greenland-Canada. Whether this was part of a larger regional pattern or it represents the influence of polynya areas with locally increased productivity remains to be solved. With respect to glacial conditions, increased ice-rafted debris (IRD) deposition in the area appears to be associated with glacial stages 6, 4, and late 3. Stage 2 sediments (including the Last Glacial Maximum) are condensed with a sparse IRD content only.
- Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate