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Palynological Evidence of Climatic and Oceanographic Changes in the North Sea during the Last Deglaciation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

André Rochon
Affiliation:
GÉOTOP, Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, Montréal, Canada, H3C 3P8
Anne de Vernal
Affiliation:
GÉOTOP, Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, Montréal, Canada, H3C 3P8
Hans-Petter Sejrup
Affiliation:
Geologiske Institute, University of Bergen, Allegaten 41, N-5007, Bergen, Norway
Haflidi Haflidason
Affiliation:
Geologiske Institute, University of Bergen, Allegaten 41, N-5007, Bergen, Norway

Abstract

Palynological analyses performed on cores from the Norwegian Channel (Troll 8903) led to reconstruction of the late-glacial variations in sea-surface conditions using dinoflagellate cyst data and permitted direct correlation with the vegetation history of northwestern Europe derived from pollen assemblages. By ∼15,000 yr B.P., ice rapidly receded from the Norwegian shelf and relatively warm summer conditions prevailed in surface waters. A first late-glacial cooling marked by extensive seasonal sea–ice cover is dated at ca. 13,600–13,000 14C yr B.P., which coincides with the Oldest Dryas interval. During the Bølling–Allerød interval, a rise in sea-surface temperature both in February (up to 3°C) and August (up to 15°C) led to the establishment of ice-free conditions in the northern North Sea, while pollen data reveal a densification of the vegetation cover. The beginning of the Younger Dryas interval is marked by an increase in nonarboreal pollen input indicative of the opening of the forest vegetation cover, concomitant with a cooling of surface waters during winter and development of sea–ice cover. However, sea-surface conditions remained relatively warm in summer until about 10,300 yr B.P., when extremely cold conditions and extensive sea–ice cover developed (up to 7 months/yr). Improving conditions are recorded in surface waters by ∼10,100 yr B.P., a few hundred years before the development of forest cover onshore, as shown by the pollen record. Such a discrepancy between marine and terrestrial indicators at the end of Younger Dryas time suggests a delayed response of the vegetation to regional climate warming.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
University of Washington

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