Clim. Past Discuss., 9, 245-267, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in CP.
Vegetation responses to interglacial warming in the Arctic, examples from Lake El'gygytgyn, northeast Siberia
A. V. Lozhkin1 and P. M. Anderson2
1Northeast Interdisciplinary Scientific Research Institute, Far East Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 16 Portovaya Street, Magadan, 685000, Russia
2Earth & Space Sciences and Quaternary Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, 98195-1310, USA

Abstract. Palynological data from Lake El'gygytgyn reveal responses of plant communities to a range of climatic conditions that can help assess the possible impact of global warming on arctoboreal ecosystems. Vegetation associated with climatic optima suggests two types of interglacial responses: one is dominated by deciduous taxa (the postglacial thermal maximum (PGTM) and marine isotope stage (MIS5)) and the second by evergreen conifers (MIS11, MIS31). The MIS11 forests show a similarity to Picea-Larix-Betula-Alnus forests of Siberia. While dark coniferous forest also characterizes MIS31, the pollen taxa show an affinity to the modern boreal forest of the lower Amur valley in the Russian Far East. Despite vegetation differences during the thermal maxima, all four glacial-interglacial transitions are alike, being dominated by deciduous woody taxa. Initially Betula shrub tundra established and was replaced by tundra with tree-sized shrubs (PGTM), Betula woodland (MIS5), or Betula-Larix (MIS11, MIS31) forest. The consistent occurrence of deciduous forest and/or high shrub tundra in all interglaciations as they approach or achieve maximum warmth underscores the significance of this biome for modeling efforts. The El'gygytgyn data also suggest the possible elimination or massive reduction of arctic plant communities under extreme warm-earth scenarios.

Citation: Lozhkin, A. V. and Anderson, P. M.: Vegetation responses to interglacial warming in the Arctic, examples from Lake El'gygytgyn, northeast Siberia, Clim. Past Discuss., 9, 245-267, doi:10.5194/cpd-9-245-2013, 2013.
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