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Lake Diatoms as a Proxy for Holocene Environmental Change, West Greenland

BEST, LOUISE,ALICE (2013) Lake Diatoms as a Proxy for Holocene Environmental Change, West Greenland. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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There is great interest over the Greenland Ice Sheet in terms of future climate change, though there is a lack of understanding of climate change during the Holocene. Lakes can provide continuous and detailed records of paleoclimate; the distinct taxonomy and preservation potential of diatoms makes them a particularly useful proxy within paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Contemporary diatom assemblages and the environmental conditions of 25 lakes from a localized area in the Godthåbsfjord region, southwest Greenland, as well as a fossil core from one of the lakes, are studied. Multivariate analysis is undertaken to establish the relationships between the contemporary diatoms and environmental conditions, and the addition of another dataset from Søndre Strømfjord, west Greenland, provided an insight into lake and diatom variability. Transfer functions are then developed for several environmental variables, including pH, temperature and lake depth, and applied to the fossil diatom assemblages from the lake core. The fossil diatom assemblages and quantitative reconstructions indicate an acidification of the lake through the Holocene, and the quantitative reconstructions, along with additional proxy data of pollen, provide a record of several warming and cooling phases through the Holocene, including the Little Ice Age. There are however several issues, including multiple forcing variables acting on the contemporary diatoms, the provision of modern analogues for the fossil assemblages, as well as preservation problems, that raise several questions over the reliability of lake diatoms as a proxy for Holocene environmental change in southwest Greenland.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Keywords:Diatoms; West Greenland; Lakes; Holocene; Paleoenvironments; Climate; Proxy Reconstruction; Microfossil; Transfer Function; Multivariate Analysis
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:20 Mar 2013 11:51

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