A millennial perspective on Arctic warming from 14C in quartz and plants emerging from beneath ice caps
Article first published online: 11 JAN 2008
Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2008
How to Cite
2008), A millennial perspective on Arctic warming from 14C in quartz and plants emerging from beneath ice caps, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L01502, doi:10.1029/2007GL032057., , , , and (
- Issue published online: 11 JAN 2008
- Article first published online: 11 JAN 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 21 NOV 2007
- Manuscript Received: 17 SEP 2007
 Observational records show that the area of ice caps on northern Baffin Island, Arctic Canada has diminished by more than 50% since 1958. Fifty 14C dates on dead vegetation emerging beneath receding ice margins document the persistence of some of these ice caps since at least 350 AD. In situ cosmogenic 14C in rock surfaces, and 14C in plant macrofossils from lake-sediment cores demonstrate that the plateau remained ice-free through the middle Holocene, but has supported ice caps for more than 2000 of the past 2800 years. The rapid disappearance of these ice caps over the past century, despite decreasing summer insolation, further demonstrates the unusual character of 20th Century warmth. Widespread ice-cap expansion ∼1280 AD early in the Little Ice Age, and intensified expansion ∼1450 AD, coincide with peak stratospheric volcanic aerosol loading and reduced solar luminosity, suggesting that these mechanisms may have initiated ice-cap growth, subsequently maintained by strong positive feedbacks.