Impact of Holocene climate variability on lacustrine records and human settlements in South Greenland
T. Guillemot1, V. Bichet1, A. Simonneau2, D. Rius1, C. Massa1, E. Gauthier1, H. Richard1, and M. Magny11Université de Bourgogne/Franche-Comté, Laboratoire Chrono-environnement, CNRS UMR 6249, 16 route de Gray 25030 Besançon, France 2Université d'Orléans, ISTO, CNRS UMR 7327, 1A rue de la Férollerie 45071 Orléans, France
Received: 16 Oct 2015 – Accepted for review: 04 Nov 2015 – Discussion started: 17 Nov 2015
Abstract. Due to its sensitivity to climate changes, south Greenland is a particularly suitable area to study past global climate changes and their influence on locale Human settlements. A paleohydrological investigation was therefore carried out on two river-fed lakes: Lake Qallimiut and Little Kangerluluup, both located close to the Labrador Sea in the historic farming center of Greenland. Two sediment cores (QAL-2011 and LKG-2011), spanning the last four millennia, were retrieved and showed similar thin laminae, described by high magnetic susceptibility and density, high titanium and TOC / TN atomic ratio, and coarse grain size. They are also characterized either by inverse grading followed by normal grading or by normal grading only and a prevalence of red amorphous particles and lignocellulosic fragments, typical of flood deposits.
Flood events showed similar trend in both records: they mainly occurred during cooler and wetter periods characterized by weaker Greenlandic paleo-temperatures, substantial glacier advances, and a high precipitation on the Greenlandic Ice Sheet and North Atlantic ice-rafting events. They can therefore be interpreted as a result of ice and snow-melting episodes. They occurred especially during rapid climate changes (RCC) such as the Middle to Late Holocene transition around 2250 BC, the Sub-boreal/Sub-atlantic transition around 700 BC and the Little Ice Age (LIA) between AD 1300 and AD 1900, separated by cycles of 1500 years and driven by solar forcing. These global RCC revealed by QAL-2011 and LKG-2011 flood events may have influenced Human settlements in south Greenland, especially the paleo-Eskimo cultures and the Norse settlement, and have been mainly responsible for their demise.
Guillemot, T., Bichet, V., Simonneau, A., Rius, D., Massa, C., Gauthier, E., Richard, H., and Magny, M.: Impact of Holocene climate variability on lacustrine records and human settlements in South Greenland, Clim. Past Discuss., 11, 5401-5438, doi:10.5194/cpd-11-5401-2015, 2015.