Sea ice variations in the central Canadian Arctic Archipelago during the Holocene

TitleSea ice variations in the central Canadian Arctic Archipelago during the Holocene
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsVare, LL, Massé, G, Gregory, TR, Smart, CW, Belt, ST
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
ISBN Number0277-3791

A sea ice record for Barrow Strait in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) is presented for the interval 10.0–0.4 cal. kyr BP. This Holocene record is based primarily on the occurrence of a sea ice biomarker chemical, IP25, isolated from a marine sediment core obtained from Barrow Strait in 2005. A core chronology is based on 14C AMS dating of mollusc shells obtained from ten horizons within the core. The primary IP25 data are compared with complementary proxy data obtained from analysis of other organic biomarkers, stable isotope composition of bulk organic matter, benthic foraminifera, particle size distributions and ratios of inorganic elements. The combined proxy data show that the palaeo-sea ice record can be grouped according to four intervals, and these can be contextualised further with respect to the Holocene Thermal Maximum (HTM). Spring sea ice occurrence was lowest during the early–mid Holocene (10.0–6.0 cal. kyr BP) and this was followed by a second phase (6.0–4.0 cal. kyr BP) where spring sea ice occurrence showed a small increase. Between 4.0 and 3.0 cal. kyr BP, spring sea ice occurrence increased abruptly to above the median and we associate this interval with the termination of the HTM. Elevated spring sea ice occurrences continued from 3.0 to 0.4 cal. kyr BP, although they were more variable on shorter timescales. Within this fourth interval, we also provide evidence for slightly lower and subsequently higher spring sea ice occurrence during the Mediaeval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age respectively. Comparisons are made between our proxy data with those obtained from other palaeo-climate and sea ice studies for the CAA.