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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor B. Huntley

Huntley, B., Long, A.J. & Allen, J.R.M. (2013). Spatio-temporal patterns in late-glacial and Holocene vegetation and climate of Finnmark, northernmost Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews 70: 158-175.

Author(s) from Durham


Precisely-dated records of palaeovegetation and reconstructed palaeoclimate are presented from three lakes in northernmost Finnmark. The lakes lie adjacent to the southern shore of the Barents Sea and are located along a west–east transect. The three records are used to reconstruct spatial patterns in regional vegetation and climatic history since 13,900 cal yr BP. Longer-term shifts in treeline position and in the position of the Pinus–Betula ecotone are recorded. In addition, especially during the regional Holocene thermal maximum, the latter exhibited strong periodic fluctuations. The number and strength of these fluctuations that were recorded at each of the three sites differed systematically, with fewer and weaker fluctuations seen at the easternmost site, in particular. The patterns revealed are used to test the hypothesis that variations in the strength of the North Cape Current have been of primary importance as the proximal driver of climatic variability in the region since deglaciation. The results provide strong support for this hypothesis during the Holocene, the strong periodic fluctuations during the regional Holocene thermal maximum in particular being consistent with the proposed mechanism. During the Lateglacial and earliest Holocene the patterns are less clear, but nonetheless also consistent with the proposed mechanism. Further work on precisely-dated marine sediment cores will be necessary to understand the factors leading to the periodic and longer-term variations in strength of the North Cape Current.