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Holocene Treeline History and Climate Change Across Northern Eurasia

  • Glen M. MacDonald (a1), Andrei A. Velichko (a2), Constantine V. Kremenetski (a2), Olga K. Borisova (a2), Aleksandra A. Goleva (a2), Andrei A. Andreev (a2), Les C. Cwynar (a3), Richard T. Riding (a3), Steven L. Forman (a4), Tom W.D. Edwards (a5), Ramon Aravena (a5), Dan Hammarlund (a6), Julian M. Szeicz (a7) and Valery N. Gattaulin (a8)...

Radiocarbon-dated macrofossils are used to document Holocene treeline history across northern Russia (including Siberia). Boreal forest development in this region commenced by 10,000 yr B.P. Over most of Russia, forest advanced to or near the current arctic coastline between 9000 and 7000 yr B.P. and retreated to its present position by between 4000 and 3000 yr B.P. Forest establishment and retreat was roughly synchronous across most of northern Russia. Treeline advance on the Kola Peninsula, however, appears to have occurred later than in other regions. During the period of maximum forest extension, the mean July temperatures along the northern coastline of Russia may have been 2.5° to 7.0°C warmer than modern. The development of forest and expansion of treeline likely reflects a number of complimentary environmental conditions, including heightened summer insolation, the demise of Eurasian ice sheets, reduced sea-ice cover, greater continentality with eustatically lower sea level, and extreme Arctic penetration of warm North Atlantic waters. The late Holocene retreat of Eurasian treeline coincides with declining summer insolation, cooling arctic waters, and neoglaciation.

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Quaternary Research
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