High-resolution alkenone sea surface temperature variability on the North Icelandic Shelf: Implications for Nordic Seas palaeoclimatic development during the Holocene

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  • Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona


The palaeoceanography of the northern Icelandic Shelf for the Holocene period was reconstructed from alkenone indices measured in core JR51-GC35. This contains a continuous record of Holocene sedimentation spanning 0-10.2 cal. kyr BP with a resolution of ∼20 yr/cm. We have identified a general Holocene cooling trend that has superimposed millennial-scale oscillations of >2°C. Their timing is in close agreement with the timing of glacier advances in northern Iceland. For the later half of the Holocene, the alkenone-sea surface temperature (SST) record from JR51-GC35 correlates with proxy data for the strength of NADW formation recorded in cores south of Iceland. This is interpreted as evidence of a close connection existing between north Icelandic sea surface temperatures and the North Atlantic meridonal overturning circulation. The timing of the millennial-scale SST variability in our core off North Iceland is found to be out of phase, or anti-phased, with the SST variability of a record in the eastern Nordic Seas (MD952011). This suggests that the evolution of Holocene climate in the Nordic Seas was more complex than previously proposed; and it is likely to be caused by differential responses of the Irminger and Norwegian Currents and modulated by changes in atmospheric circulation analogous to the North Atlantic Oscillation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-24
Number of pages16
JournalThe Holocene
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


  • Alkenones, Anti-phasing, High-resolution sediment core, Holocene, Iceland, Irminger Current, Marine-terrestrial correlations, Millennial, MOC, NAO, Nordic Seas, North Atlantic, North Atlantic Oscillation, Norwegian Current, Palaeoceanography, SST, UK37