IPY 120 NORCLIM: first results and future research

By Dr.S. Troelstra and dr. M. Prins
Faculty of Earth- and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam

IPY 120, NORCLIM studied northern high latitude climate variability during the past 2000 years and its implications for human activities in the arctic.
To this purpose marine sedimentcores for detailed climate reconstruction were taken at selected localities in fjords of Svalbard, Newfoundland and Greenland. The cooperation and exchange of ideas between archeologists and paleoclimatologists was fruitful and has definitely increased the understanding of living conditions of the Norse in Greenland and of the paleo-indians in Newfoundland.
Ongoing research on Svalbard deals with an extended time period e.g. the last deglaciation and the entire Holocene. Focus is on sediments and their provenance from Kross- and Kongsfjorden containing the record of rapid climate change episodes during the Holocene, including the Little Ice Age. During the maximum of the LIA the dutch maintained the whaling station Smeerenburg on the island of Amsterdam to the north of our study area. Our research shows that during the Little Ice Age strongly increased sedimentation took place in Krossfjorden, possibly related to glacier surges. A second activity concerns the sclerochronological analysis of Mya truncata shells from raised beaches near Ny Alesund (Svalbard). Preliminary studies indicate that the stable oxygen isotope composition of the shells provides an excellent archive of decadal seasonality, such as the occurrence of large meltwater pulses.
We anticipate continuation of our research activities around Ny Alesund in both fields around Kross/Kongsfjorden and on the raised terraces at Kvadehuk, to the west.

Willem Barentsz Poolinstituut

Bundeling van kennis, onderzoek en onderwijs over de Noord- en de Zuidpool

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