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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-29
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Apr 2018

Research article | 03 Apr 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP). A final paper in CP is not foreseen.

Past, present and future biomes in Beringia: Comparison between simulations and pollen analysis

Kazuyuki Saito1,2, Amy Hendricks1, John Walsh1, and Nancy Bigelow3 Kazuyuki Saito et al.
  • 1International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbaks, Alaska 99775, USA
  • 2Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, 236-0001, Japan
  • 3Alaska Quaternary Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbaks, Alaska 99775, USA

Abstract. Past, present and future biomes in Beringia, a region including Alaska and Eastern Russia, were simulated using an equilibrium vegetation model, BIOME4 and a statistical downscaling method in order to illustrate their geographical and temporal changes. Outputs form five CMIP5 models were utilized to represent the climate for four time periods, i.e., the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 21ka), the mid-Holocene Optimum (6ka), the modern period, and the near future (the end of this century under a RCP8.5 scenario). Present-day biome simulations were generally consistent with current vegetation observations in the study region. Pollen samples indicate that the Bering Land Bridge was covered almost entirely by cushionforb and graminoid tundra during the LGM, whereas the paleoclimate simulations show large across-model variations in this region. Three out of the five modelsʼ climate data produce evergreen and deciduous taiga at 21ka in what is now southwestern Alaska and southeastern Bering continental shelf. The 6ka simulations are in better agreement with pollen-based distributions of biomes. Future simulations show a general northward shift of biomes, including intrusions of cool and warm-temperate mixed, and cool coniferous forests above 60°N, especially in southwest Alaska.

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Kazuyuki Saito et al.
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Kazuyuki Saito et al.
Kazuyuki Saito et al.
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Short summary
Vegetation in Beringia, between Alaska and Eastern Russia, were simulated for a glacial (LGM) and warm past (mid-Holocene), the modern, and the end of this century. Modern and mid-Holocene biomes were simulated consistent with observations. Pollens indicate cold tundras covered the Bering Land Bridge almost entirely at the LGM, but the simulations show large variations, with the majority producing northern forests at southeastern. The future results show a general northward shift of biomes.
Vegetation in Beringia, between Alaska and Eastern Russia, were simulated for a glacial (LGM)...
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