Holocene temperature evolution in the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes – Model-data comparisons

Yurui Zhang*, Hans Renssen, Heikki Seppä, Paul J. Valdes

*Corresponding author for this work

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Heterogeneous Holocene climate evolutions in the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes are primarily determined by orbital-scale insolation variations and melting ice sheets. Previous inter-model comparisons have revealed that multi-simulation consistencies vary spatially. We, therefore, compared multiple model results with proxy-based reconstructions in Fennoscandia, Greenland, north Canada, Alaska and Siberia. Our model-data comparisons reveal that data and models generally agree in Fennoscandia, Greenland and Canada, with the early-Holocene warming and subsequent gradual decrease to 0 ka BP (hereinafter referred as ka). In Fennoscandia, simulations and pollen data suggest a 2 °C warming by 8 ka, but this is less expressed in chironomid data. In Canada, a strong early-Holocene warming is suggested by both the simulations and pollen results. In Greenland, the magnitude of early-Holocene warming ranges from 6 °C in simulations to 8 °C in δ18O-based temperatures. Simulated and reconstructed temperatures are mismatched in Alaska. Pollen data suggest strong early-Holocene warming, while the simulations indicate constant Holocene cooling, and chironomid data show a stable trend. Meanwhile, a high frequency of Alaskan peatland initiation before 9 ka can reflect a either high temperature, high soil moisture or large seasonality. In high-latitude Siberia, although simulations and proxy data depict high Holocene temperatures, these signals are noisy owing to a large spread in the simulations and between pollen and chironomid results. On the whole, the Holocene climate evolutions in most regions (Fennoscandia, Greenland and Canada) are well established and understood, but important questions regarding the Holocene temperature trend and mechanisms remain for Alaska and Siberia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-113
Number of pages13
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date31 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


This work was funded by the China Scholarship Council . We are grateful to Prof. Hans Petter Sejrup for his comments on this study at the early stage. We also would like to thank the Arctic Holocene proxy climate database for making the proxy data available. The constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers and the editor are acknowledged. Appendix A

FundersFunder number
Natural Environment Research CouncilNE/D001773/1
China Scholarship Council


    • Continental biotic proxies
    • Europe
    • Fennoscandia
    • Greenland
    • Holocene
    • Ice cores
    • N America
    • Paleoclimate modeling
    • Paleoclimatology
    • Russia


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