The periglacial climate and environment in northern Eurasia during the Last Glaciation

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This paper summarizes the results of studies of the Late Weichselian periglacial environments carried out in key areas of northern Eurasia by several QUEEN teams (European Science Foundation (ESF) programme: "Quaternary Environment of the Eurasian North"). The palaeoglaciological boundary conditions are defined by geological data on timing and extent of the last glaciation obtained in the course of the EU funded project "Eurasian Ice Sheets". These data prove beyond any doubt, that with the exception of the northwestern fringe of the Taymyr Peninsula, the rest of the Eurasian mainland and Severnaya Zemlya were not affected by the Barents-Kara Sea fee Sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Inversed modelling based on these results shows that a progressive cooling which started around 30 ka BP, caused ice growth in Scandinavia and the northwestern areas of the Barents-Kara Sea shelf, due to a maritime climate with relatively high precipitation along the western flank of the developing ice sheets. In the rest of the Eurasian Arctic extremely low precipitation rates (less than 50 mm yr(-1)), did not allow ice sheet growth in spite of the very cold temperatures. Palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental conditions for the time prior to, during, and after the LGM have been reconstructed for the non-glaciated areas around the LGM ice sheet with the use of faunal and vegetation records, permafrost, eolian sediments, alluvial deposits and other evidences. The changing environment, from interstadial conditions around 30 ka BP to a much colder and drier environment at the culmination of the LGM at 20-15 ka BP, and the beginning of warming around 15 ka BP have been elaborated from the field data, which fits well with the modelling results. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • HW Hubberten
  • A Andreev
  • VI Astakhov
  • I Demidov
  • JA Dowdeswell
  • M Henriksen
  • M Houmark-Nielsen
  • M Jakobsson
  • S Kuzmina
  • E Larsen
  • JP Lunkka
  • A Lysa
  • J Mangerud
  • M Saarnisto
  • L Schirrmeister
  • AV Sher
  • C Siegert
  • MJ Siegert
  • JI Svendsen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1333-1357
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Issue number11-13
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch