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Reconstructing Millennial-Scale, Regional Paleoclimates of Boreal Canada during the Holocene

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  • 1 Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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Abstract

Regional paleoclimate reconstructions for northern Canada quantify Holocene climate variability on orbital and millennial time scales and provide a context to better understand the current global warming. The reconstructions are based on available pollen diagrams from the boreal and low Arctic zones of Canada and use the modern analog technique (MAT). Four regional reconstructions document the space–time evolution of the climate during the Holocene. Highest summer and winter temperatures anomalies are found in central Canada during the early Holocene. Eastern Canada was relatively cool in the early Holocene, whereas central Canada was warmest at that time. Labrador was relatively dry in the early to mid-Holocene during which time western Canada was relatively moist. Millennial-scale temperature variations, especially the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age are seen across the continent, with some suggestion of time-transgressive changes from west to east. At the millennial scale, precipitation anomalies are of opposite signs in eastern and western Canada. The results herein indicate that modern increases in temperatures in northern Canada far exceed natural millennial-scale climate variability.

Corresponding author address: A. E. Viau, Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada. Email: aviau@uottawa.ca

This article included in the Polar Climate Stability special collection.

Abstract

Regional paleoclimate reconstructions for northern Canada quantify Holocene climate variability on orbital and millennial time scales and provide a context to better understand the current global warming. The reconstructions are based on available pollen diagrams from the boreal and low Arctic zones of Canada and use the modern analog technique (MAT). Four regional reconstructions document the space–time evolution of the climate during the Holocene. Highest summer and winter temperatures anomalies are found in central Canada during the early Holocene. Eastern Canada was relatively cool in the early Holocene, whereas central Canada was warmest at that time. Labrador was relatively dry in the early to mid-Holocene during which time western Canada was relatively moist. Millennial-scale temperature variations, especially the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age are seen across the continent, with some suggestion of time-transgressive changes from west to east. At the millennial scale, precipitation anomalies are of opposite signs in eastern and western Canada. The results herein indicate that modern increases in temperatures in northern Canada far exceed natural millennial-scale climate variability.

Corresponding author address: A. E. Viau, Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada. Email: aviau@uottawa.ca

This article included in the Polar Climate Stability special collection.

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