Report of 1st discussion group: The last interglacial in high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere: Terrestrial and marine evidence

members LIGA members*, P. Anderson, O. Borisova, J. L. de Beaulieu, A. de Vernal, J. Eiriksson, S. Funder, P. Gibbard, T. Hamilton, S. P. Harrison, M. Houmark-Nielsen, B. Huntley, K. L. Knudsen, E. Larsen, L. J. Maher, J. V. Matthews, G. Miller, A. Raukas, N. Reeh, A. M. RobertssonN. Rutter, C. E. Schweger, H. P. Sejrup, A. Sher, A. Telka, C. Turner, A. Velichko, B. Ward

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    44 Citations (Scopus)


    The paleoclimatic informations preserved at some selected sites from high northern latitudes correlative with the last interglacial maximum of Isotopic Substage 5e have been compiled on a hemisphere scale. The mapped compilation reveals much warmer climate conditions on average than present in both terrestrial and marine environments, and indicates a northward shift of subpolar and boreal bioclimatic zones. The data also suggest that temperature and precipitation gradients were significantly different than those of the Holocene, with particularly efficient latitudinal and eastward transport of warm air masses. The paleoenvironmental and paleoclimate trends through the last interglacial sensu lato (Isotopic Stage 5) are more difficult to assess because the chronostratigraphical framework is poorly constrained. Nevertheless, the data suggest important regionalism in the climatostratigraphical trends. In particular, the large amplitude climatic cyclicity that characterizes the last interglacial of Europe is barely observed elsewhere. Moreover, by the end of the last interglacial (Isotopic Substage 5a), conditions slightly cooler than present are recorded in western Europe, while relatively warm conditions, similar to today, apparently prevailed in circumpolar regions adjacent to the North Atlantic despite the onset of ice growth. The last interglacial provides paleosynoptic situations, unlike those of the present, that may contribute to understanding interactions within the environmental system on a hemispheric scale. There is, however, an imperative need for uniformization of data sets and for more accurate chronological control on regional scales.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-28
    Number of pages20
    JournalQuaternary International
    Issue numberC
    Publication statusPublished - 1991


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