The Little Ice Age: evidence from a sediment record in Gullmar Fjord, Swedish west coast
- 1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, PO Box 460, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
- 2Department of Geology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
Abstract. We discuss the climatic and environmental changes during the last millennium in NE Europe based on a ca. 8-m long high-resolved and well-dated marine sediment record from the deepest basin of Gullmar Fjord (SW Sweden). According to the 210Pb- and 14C-datings, the record includes the period of the late Holocene characterised by anomalously cold summers and well-known as the Little Ice Age (LIA). Using benthic foraminiferal stratigraphy, lithology, bulk sediment geochemistry and stable carbon isotopes we reconstruct various phases of the cold period, identify its timing in the study area and discuss the land–sea interactions occurring during that time. The onset of the LIA is indicated by an increase in cold-water foraminiferal species Adercotryma glomerata at ~ 1350 AD The first phase of the LIA was characterised by a stormy climate and higher productivity, which is indicated by a foraminiferal unit of Nonionella iridea and Cassidulina laevigata. Maximum abundances of N. iridea probably mirror a short and abrupt warming event at ~ 1600 AD. It is likely that due to land use changes in the second part of the LIA there was an increased input of terrestrial organic matter to the fjord, which is indicated by lighter δ13C values and an increase of detritivorous and omnivorous species such as Textularia earlandi and Eggerelloides scaber. The climate deterioration during the climax of the LIA (1675–1704 AD), as suggested by the increase of agglutinated species, presence of Hyalinea balthica, and a decline of N. iridea may have driven the decline in primary productivity during this time period.