Pronounced climatic variations in Alaska during the last two millennia

Sheng Hu Feng Sheng Hu, E. Ito, T. A. Brown, B. B. Curry, D. R. Engstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Paired oxygen-isotopic analyses of abiotic carbonate and benthicostracode shells from lake sediments provide a continuous quantitative record of growing-season temperature for the past 2000 years in the northwestern foothills of the Alaska Range. This record reveals three time intervals of comparable warmth: anno Domini (A.D.) 0-300, 850-1200, and post-1800, the latter two of which correspond to the Medieval Climatic Anomaly and climatic amelioration after the end of the Little Ice Age. The Little Ice Age culminated at A.D. 1700, when the climate was ≈ 1.7°C colder than at present. A marked climatic cooling also occurred around A.D. 600, coinciding with extensive glacial advances in Alaska. Comparisons of this temperature record with ostracode trace-element ratios (Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca) further suggest that colder periods were wetter and vice versa during the past 2000 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10552-10556
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
StatePublished - Sep 11 2001

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