• sea-surface;
  • Baffin Bay;
  • Holocene;
  • polynya;
  • palynology;
  • transfer function


The analysis of cores collected in northernmost Baffin Bay, from within the area of the North Water Polynya, permits definition of a composite sedimentary sequence ca. 12 m thick spanning the last 10 000 14C yr, with only a few discontinuities. Palynological analyses were performed in order to reconstruct changes in surface water conditions and biogenic production. Transfer functions, using dinocyst assemblages, were applied to estimate sea-surface temperature (SST) and salinity, as well as the seasonal duration of sea ice cover. At the base of the record, prior to 9300 14C yr BP, dinocysts and organic linings of benthic foraminifers are sparse, indicating harsh conditions and low productivity. After ca. 9300 14C yr BP, the increased concentration of benthic foraminifers (up to 103 linings cm−3) and dinocyst fluxes (102–103 cysts cm−2 yr−1) reveals high biological productivity related to open-water conditions. The early to middle Holocene, from ca. 9000 to ca. 3600 14C yr BP, is marked by relatively high species diversity in dinocyst assemblages and the significant occurrence of autotrophic taxa such as Spiniferites elongatus, Pentapharsodinium dalei and Impagidinium pallidum. This assemblage suggests conditions at least as warm as at present. From ca. 6400 to ca. 3600 14C yr BP, transfer functions indicate warmer conditions than at present, with SST in August fluctuating up to 5.5°C. After 3600 14C yr BP, the dinocyst record suggests a trend of decreasing temperature toward modern values, marked by recurrent cooling events. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.