A Holocene lake sediment record is presented from Lake N14 situated on Angissoq island 15 km off the main coast of southern Greenland. The palaeoclimatic development has been interpreted on the basis of flux and percentage content of biogenic silica, clastic material, organic material and sulphur as well as sedimentation rate, moss content and magnetic susceptibility. A total of 43 radiocarbon dates has ensured a reliable chronology. It is argued that varying sediment composition mainly reflects changing precipitation. By analogy with the present meteorological conditions in southern Greenland, Holocene climate development is inferred. Between 11550 and 9300 cal. yr BP temperature and precipitation increase markedly, but this period is climatically unstable. From 9300 yr BP conditions become more stable and a Holocene climatic optimum, characterised by warm and humid conditions, is observed from 8000 to 5000 cal. yr BP. From 4700 cal. yr BP the first signs of a climatic deterioration are observed, and from 3700 cal. yr BP the climate has become more dry and cold. Superimposed on the climatic long-term trend is climate variability on a centennial time-scale that increases in amplitude after 3700 cal. yr BP. A climatic scenario related to the strength and position of the Greenland high-pressure cell and the Iceland low-pressure cell is proposed to explain the Holocene centennial climate variability. A comparison of the Lake N14 record with a terrestrial as well as a marine record from the eastern North Atlantic Ocean suggests that the centennial climate variability was uniform over large areas at certain times. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.
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