Claim: Last 100 years may be warmest in 120,000 years in the Arctic, but not so fast (UPDATED)

Satellite image of Baffin Island, the Baffin M...

Satellite image of Baffin Island, the Baffin Mountains are seen in northeastern Baffin Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the University of Colorado at Boulder, comes this study about radiocarbon dating some dead moss clumps exposed from under ice/snow at 4 locations on Baffin Island that somehow proves “unprecedented” warmth for the entire Arctic for the last 120,000 years. See below for my take on it.

CU-Boulder study shows unprecedented warmth in Arctic

The heat is on, at least in the Arctic.

Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher now than during any century in the past 44,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 120,000 years, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

The study is the first direct evidence the present warmth in the Eastern Canadian Arctic exceeds the peak warmth there in the Early Holocene, when the amount of the sun’s energy reaching the Northern Hemisphere in summer was roughly 9 percent greater than today, said CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor Gifford Miller, study leader. The Holocene is a geological epoch that began after Earth’s last glacial period ended roughly 11,700 years ago and which continues today.

Miller and his colleagues used dead moss clumps emerging from receding ice caps on Baffin Island as tiny clocks. At four different ice caps, radiocarbon dates show the mosses had not been exposed to the elements since at least 44,000 to 51,000 years ago.

Since radiocarbon dating is only accurate to about 50,000 years and because Earth’s geological record shows it was in a glaciation stage prior to that time, the indications are that Canadian Arctic temperatures today have not been matched or exceeded for roughly 120,000 years, Miller said.

“The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” said Miller, also a fellow at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

A paper on the subject appeared online Oct. 21 in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal published by the American Geophysical Union. Co-authors include CU-Boulder Senior Research Associate Scott Lehman, former CU-Boulder doctoral student and now Prescott College Professor Kurt Refsnider, University of California Irvine researcher John Southon and University of Wisconsin, Madison Research Associate Yafang Zhong. The National Science Foundation provided the primary funding for the study.

Miller and his colleagues compiled the age distribution of 145 radiocarbon-dated plants in the highlands of Baffin Island that were exposed by ice recession during the year they were collected by the researchers. All samples collected were within 1 meter of the ice caps, which are generally receding by 2 to 3 meters a year. “The oldest radiocarbon dates were a total shock to me,” said Miller.

Located just east of Greenland, (um, no, to the west – Anthony) the 196,000-square-mile Baffin Island is the fifth largest island in the world. Most of it lies above the Arctic Circle. Many of the ice caps on the highlands of Baffin Island rest on relatively flat terrain, usually frozen to their beds. “Where the ice is cold and thin, it doesn’t flow, so the ancient landscape on which they formed is preserved pretty much intact,” said Miller.

To reconstruct the past climate of Baffin Island beyond the limit of radiocarbon dating, Miller and his team used data from ice cores previously retrieved by international teams from the nearby Greenland Ice Sheet.

The ice cores showed that the youngest time interval from which summer temperatures in the Arctic were plausibly as warm as today is about 120,000 years ago, near the end of the last interglacial period. “We suggest this is the most likely age of these samples,” said Miller.

The new study also showed summer temperatures cooled in the Canadian Arctic by about 5 degrees Fahrenheit from roughly 5,000 years ago to about 100 years ago – a period that included the Little Ice Age from 1275 to about 1900.

“Although the Arctic has been warming since about 1900, the most significant warming in the Baffin Island region didn’t really start until the 1970s,” said Miller. “And it is really in the past 20 years that the warming signal from that region has been just stunning. All of Baffin Island is melting, and we expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming.”

Temperatures across the Arctic have been rising substantially in recent decades as a result of the buildup of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere. Studies by CU-Boulder researchers in Greenland indicate temperatures on the ice sheet have climbed 7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1991.

A 2012 study by Miller and colleagues using radiocarbon-dated mosses that emerged from under the Baffin Island ice caps and sediment cores from Iceland suggested that the trigger for the Little Ice Age was likely a combination of exploding tropical volcanoes – which ejected tiny aerosols that reflected sunlight back into space – and a decrease in solar radiation.

###

-CU-

Contact:

Gifford Miller, 303-492-6962, cell 303-990-2071

gmiller@colorado.edu

===============================================================

I don’t dispute validity of radio-carbon14 dating techniques, but I think there is a logic failure in the claim being made.

The claim is that these plants haven’t been exposed for thousands of years, as dated by the C14 isotope.

At four different ice caps, radiocarbon dates show the mosses had not been exposed to the elements since at least 44,000 to 51,000 years ago.

That might be true, but then again they are long dead, so there wouldn’t be any uptake of new C14 if they were exposed to the open air in the past. There’s no claim that the mosses are now suddenly alive and growing again. So, if they had been “exposed to the elements” since then, they would not have an new C14 in them unless they came back to life and conducted photosynthesis.

Since plant material in the Arctic doesn’t decay like it does elsewhere due to low temperature and low humidity, it could very well remain intact while exposed for quite some time. All I think they can claim is that the plants haven’t been alive for 44,000 to 120,000 years. I don’t think they can’t prove with C14 dating that they have not been exposed then reburied under ice/snow since then. Ice is a funny thing, it can melt due to warmer temperatures or it can sublimate at below freezing temperatures if there’s not enough sustaining precipitation, as we know from Mount Kilimanjaro. What I’d really like to see is what the receding ice edge looks like. Sublimation leaves a signature that is quite different from melting.

Studies by CU-Boulder researchers in Greenland indicate temperatures on the ice sheet have climbed 7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1991.

Greenland is not Baffin island. You can’t just say that a temperature change in one place automatically means a similar temperature change in another place. Similarly, Baffin island isn’t the entire “Arctic”, yet it is portrayed in the press release as if this one proxy indicator of four sampled sites represents the entire Arctic temperature experience back 120,000 years.  It’s Yamal all over again.

Recall our series of stories about “midges” used for proxy temperature reconstruction on Baffin island: Baffin Island Midge Study – debunked for a 3rd time – nearby weather station shows no warming.

This weather station on Baffin Island [Clyde Meteorological station]  shows no summer temperature increase in the last 50 years. Summer matters most because that’s the melt season.

So what’s going on with the receding ice edge on Baffin island; is it melting or sublimating? Inquiring minds want to know.  From the one photo they provided, it is hard to tell:

University of Colorado Boulder professor Gifford Miller is shown here collecting dead plant samples from the edge of a Baffin Island ice cap. Credit: University of Colorado

Of course the uncritical MSM is already trumpeting this story without question, with the usual bent that the posited current warmth is a bad thing.

What really bugs me (besides the fact the press release can’t even bother to mention the title of the study) is that they use of the word “unprecedented” in the title of the press release. Obviously this isn’t true, because it had to be warm enough, long enough, back then to give these mosses a chance to get a foothold and grow. If the warmth today was “unprecedented” they’d find nothing in the way of previous life forms under the receding ice. – Anthony

UPDATE: 10/25/13 11AM PDT

I lamented the lack of photographs to show me what sort of ice loss signature there was. The press release at AGU had such a photo in it which I show below, click for a much larger version.

Fig.1.Sputnik[1]

As ice caps today recede, like this one nicknamed Sputnik, they expose dead plants killed long ago when the ice cap formed and then preserved ever since by the ice. By carbon-dating the organic material, scientists can determine when the plants lived, thousands of years ago, and infer the average temperatures back then that allowed the plants to thrive. Credit: Gifford Miller

Looking at the stream channels, clearly this is mostly a melt process, but did you notice the most important distinction?

Note the albedo difference from the ice cap on the left side versus the right side. The right side is almost pure white, and there are no stream channels. The left side has lots of stream channels and is a dirty brown. Notice also that the ice in surrounding depressions is whiter that the ice cap, which is actually a small hill, though I don’t know what height it is above surrounding terrain.

What this looks like to me is that the windward side of the Sputnik icecap hill is on the left and it is picking up all sorts of debris and particulates (such as carbon soot) on the leeward side there is less deposition, and the ice is cleaner.

As we’ve noted before on WUWT, carbon soot is a big problem in the Arctic.

I’d really like to know why the authors have not mentioned what is obvious to the eye as an alternate possibility for the icecap decline.

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Jquip

“Obviously this isn’t true, because it had to be warm enough, long enough, back then to give these mosses a chance to get a foothold and grow.”
Well, as the quote from Miller states directly. A roughly flat trend over 44k years is pretty unprecedented to them. Can’t expect too much as this guy is from the People’s Republic of Boulder. They’re doing well to sort out an order of coffee.

Hmmmmmm! as radiocarbon 14 has a half life of 5,730 years give or take 40 years we are talking about measurements of 5 1,000ths and 5 10,000,000ths of a not very known amount. Given that its creation varies according to the cosmic ray activity at the time and it in turn varies according to sunspot activity. This seems to be very impressive scientific measurements or ……
I understood that radiocarbon 14 dating was impossible after about 40,000 – 50,000 years!

Martin C

Anthony, I wonder why the PEER review wouldn’t have also considered what you did and your line of logic. . .?
. . . oh, did I say Peer Review . . ? Goodness me, I really meant ‘PAL Review’ . . . .
OK, now I understand why it wasn’t questioned . . . silly me . . 🙂

TImothy Sorenson

Well, when the snow comes (this year) and completely covers his sampling area; we can excavate down and sample the ‘NEVER’ exposed in 120,000 year old plant samples that he himself sampled from last year.

All [143 plants] samples collected were within 1 meter of the ice caps, which are generally receding by 2 to 3 meters a year
From how many locations?
From how long a transect?
Why no perpendicular transects?

There are so many things wrong with their claim it is hard to believe it ever passed peer rearview. Tree line reached the Arctic coastline 9000 years ago and then receded. Several studies of Bowhead whale bones, driftwood, beach formation, GISP2 ice core and Scandinavian tree ring data all agree that temperatures were much warmer several times during the Holocene. This is another example of peer review failure that allows studies to make unsupported claims and spam the literature.

Steve McIntyre

Here http://www.geochronometria.pl/pdf/geo_32/Geo32_02.pdf is an article entitled “TOO OLD AMS RADIOCARBON DATES OBTAINED FROM MOSS REMAINS FROM LAKE KWIECKO BOTTOM SEDIMENTS (N POLAND)”. It cites other work finding similar problems.

Matt

Our kids will only know what an ice road trucker is from the History Channel…. Maybe they will be able to buy the show in a double DVD set, together with the show that tells them what snow was all about, back in ye olden days?

John F. Hultquist

“. . . , and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
[Gifford Miller, 2013]
That made me smile.

davidmhoffer

So they used a technique that isn’t valid for samples over 50,000 years old to determine that 120,000 years ago it was warm enough to grow moss, but it isn’t that warm now. Which shows that the recent warming is unprecedented.
I’ve long since come to accept that this sort of drek can be spouted in public without instigating jeering crowds of people pointing and laughing. What bothers me is that an area that hasn’t been able to support life in tens of thousands of years may possibly be able to in the future, and the drekkies think that is a bad thing.

TomRude

This is as usual a big claim -The Arctic- from a small, specific area. ““The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” said Miller, also a fellow at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
Not one reference about what atmospheric circulation is in this area during the HCO and the last glaciation in order to understand the regional specifics.
“Although the Arctic has been warming since about 1900, the most significant warming in the Baffin Island region didn’t really start until the 1970s,” said Miller. “And it is really in the past 20 years that the warming signal from that region has been just stunning. All of Baffin Island is melting, and we expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming.”
Oh yeah, 20 years is all… and if Miller knew the work of Leroux he’d understand his claim is bogus as the warming here is related to dynamics of stronger MPHs coming out of the Arctic and advecting more warm air along the shores of Baffin and Greenland. I guess 1070hPa pressures must mean warming… LOL
And to boot, he cherry picked the summer temperatures…

John Robertson

I think the point the original authors are trying to make is the lichen was only uncovered due to receding ice – for whatever reason. As a result the lichen was not exposed to the elements for the last 40,000+ years, which is an interesting claim. More research would need to be done to clear up why this spot hasn’t been (or has it been) uncovered at any time in the previous 40K+ years and how does one prove/disprove that – in other words (Prof. Feynmans’s actually) is it falsifiable?
What is interesting to me is the melting alps glaciers are exposing villages and people who have been buried in the ice for a thousand years or more.
Something unusual does appear to be happening in the arctic, and it appears to be balanced by the increasing ice coverage in the antarctic – but why the warming has happened hasn’t been explained well enough to convince me that anyone yet knows the real reason. Personally I think it is part of the ice age cycles – which no one has an explanation for as far as I can tell – and has little if anything to do with CO2 emissions, but I am no expert and as a result my opinion is barely worth the photons you are reading it by…

Arctic biome changes on Baffin Island within the past 200,000 years: Lessons from past warm times
http://www.arcticnet.ulaval.ca/pdf/talks2010/FrechetteBianca.pdf
Eastern Baffin Is. summer temperatures were 4-5°C higher than today during MIS 5.

Kevin Lohse

Jim Steele says:
“Peer rearview”. A delightfully apt typo. I’ve just started your book. Much there to provoke thought.

Nick in Vancouver

Rudolph food?

Dave Wendt

I predict that someday we will indeed see something entirely “unprecedented” appear in the annals of “climate science”. It will of course be the arrival of one of these clucks who has the slightest demonstrable capacity for constructing any kind of logically consistent thought or argument.

Chad Wozniak

It seems obvious that this study is crap, because the moss was alive 44,000 years ago and is under ice today. That would point to unprecedented COOLING, not warming.

gbaikie

– Brent Walker says:
October 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm
Hmmmmmm! as radiocarbon 14 has a half life of 5,730 years give or take 40 years we are talking about measurements of 5 1,000ths and 5 10,000,000ths of a not very known amount. Given that its creation varies according to the cosmic ray activity at the time and it in turn varies according to sunspot activity. This seems to be very impressive scientific measurements or ……
I understood that radiocarbon 14 dating was impossible after about 40,000 – 50,000 years!-
I think what is meant is that it’s at to be at least 30,000 years, and that put into the last glacial period, so everything was cooler +30000 years ago. And it requires going back to last interglacial period for warmer conditions to have existed- which was 120,000 years ago.
But there already plenty of evidence that it was warmer 6000 years ago. And what they present as evidence seems quite hopeless inadequate.
All they seem to be proving is it was warming 120,000 years- but we knew that already.

tommoriarty

Consider…
Kaufman, D. S., et. al., Holocene thermal maximum in the western Arctic (0-180°W), Quaternary Science Reviews, 23, 2004
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379103002956
Which shows this region was warmer than today between 8.6 and 4.9 thousand year ago.
Or for the entire arctic…
http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2008/10/15/dont-panic-the-arctic-has-survived-warmer-temperatures-in-the-past/

dudleyhorscroft

I think the logic is that since the mosses concerned have less than two thousandths of the radiocarbon that would be found in living mosses of the same species, they therefore should be at least 50 000 years old. As the amount actually found is ‘negligible’ (hence the guesswork of 50 000 years old or more) it is not possible to estimate a greater age than 50 000 years old. As the last ice age ended somewhere around 11 000 years ago there is a possibility that the mosses have not been uncovered since the last glaciation started about 120 000 years ago. This leads to the possibility that the mosses are 120 000 years old.
However, this is predicated on the assumption that there were sufficient mooses (meece ?) around between 120 000 years ago and now to ensure that if they had been uncovered the mosses would have been eaten. I am not sure that this is a strong assumption.
Their claim leads to the strong conclusion that the climate 120 000 years ago was at least warm enough for mosses of that species to grow, with a weaker conclusion that the climate was warmer than now up to the temperature where those mosses would have been replaced by a species adapted to warmer climates.
It also leads to the supposition that the smell/taste of this moss was not attractive to mooses and hence they were not eaten though uncovered in the last umpteen years. Did the team test this possibility by offering moss samples to a moose, with currently living moss samples as a control?
The strongest conclusion one can get from their work is that, in the absence of any statements that the CO2 levels in the atmosphere 120 000 years ago (or more recently, depending on the presence or absence of meese and their propensity to eat dead moss) were not as great or higher than at present, the past temperatures reached levels equal to or higher than today’s without the benefits of AGW. From which one may draw the corollary that CAGW is a load of bunkum.

Bob Grise

How can these Baffin island research experts not be aware of the warm period 7,000 years ago called the hypsithermal? Back then trees grew in the arctic where now there is only tundra. Methinks they do know of the hypsithermal and chose not to hype it. 🙂

This is another desperate attempt to maintain the myth of current warming exceeding previous warming. It was what drove creation of the “hockey stick”. In that case history was rewritten. As the email Professor Deming received and he spoke about in his Congressional testimony, reportedly from one of the CRU people said, “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”
Most of the Holocene was warmer than today as the Greenland ice cores show.However, if you are unconvinced by the ice core data, it is supported by physical evidence. Professor Ritchie (University of Toronto) identified and photographed a picea glauca (white spruce) stump on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula in tundra some 100km north of the current treeline (Figure 2). Radiocarbon date was 4940 ±140 years Before Present (BP). It was featured in Hubert Lamb’s classic work Climate, Present, Past and Future. This means global temperatures at least 2-3°C warmer than today.

SandyInLimousin

It would seem to be at odds with this study in the Andes where the plants were growing and thriving 5000 years ago before being covered and suffocated.
http://www.amjbot.org/content/97/9/1579.full

And once more, here’s Hubert Lamb’s northern forest limits map comparing 2000 BC with the present:
http://www.sturmsoft.com/climate/forest_grassland_limits.png

James Bull

It’s like the study in Greenland saying the ice is receding further than ever before and Oh yes uncovering Viking settlements? OOPS!
James Bull

Well, there are global warming skeptics and then there are attribution skeptics. Me? I’m the latter. A finding like this exposes the lack of a credible physical explanation for Eemian warmth. And that’s about it. Potentially it could be a lot warmer today, but it isn’t. Why?, nobody knows. As for the appeal to ‘it must be human caused’, it’s nice to know they have given up on a credible explanation, and are just taking the easy road.
Definitely valuable research though, as long as one can distil the data out of the alarmist literature….

PabloNH

“Located just east of Greenland, the 196,000-square-mile Baffin Island…”

The possibility or fact that these mosses have not been exposed for 50K does not prove that the current temperature in the area are unprecedented. The glaciers at Baffin Island during the Holocen temperature optimum 6–8000 years ago may have been more extensive covering the actual area. Long periods with warmer summer temperatures may just been working on a much larger piece of ice. We should expect that glaciers during the current interglacial are continuously receding over time, although its borders are oscillating with different climate regimes of a few hundred years. It is possible that Baffin Island experienced warmer climate for a thousand years during Holocene and still had more ice, because that era started with much more of the Laurentide Ice sheet intact. Where was the ice margin 7000 years ago?

One more thing!
We know that the arctic ocean was icefree north of Greenland during the summers of Holocene Climatic Optimum so the Glaciers may have been gaining mass due to more precipitation.

Phil

The abstract states:

Here we use 145 radiocarbon dates on rooted tundra plants revealed by receding cold-based ice caps in the Eastern Canadian Arctic to show that 5000 years of regional summertime cooling has been reversed, with average summer temperatures of the last ~100 years now higher than during any century in more than 44,000 years,…

However, Table_S1.xlsx in the Supporting Information only shows 135 samples. Furthermore, the “C14 Age” of the samples range from 225 to 4,285 years in the spreadsheet.
What gives??

PabloNH said @ October 24, 2013 at 11:52 pm

“Located just east of Greenland, the 196,000-square-mile Baffin Island…”

Well spotted 🙂 Perhaps they held the map upside down…

Paul Martin

“The study is the first direct evidence…” Stop right there! The evidence is most definitely indirect.

Cassanders

I see that PabloNH spotted the same hiccup as me. Probably just a form of geographical Freudian slip. Baffin Island is surely West of Greenland…!?

David L.

“This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
Again with the logical fallacy that since they can’t think of anything else, it must be greenhouse gases. They know all the sources of natural variability? I want them to explain how that miss got under all that ice thousands of years ago. In other words, it was warm enough to sustain moss growth. Then it became cold enough to bury them in snow. Explain that natural variability and why it’s reversal isn’t the answer to why the moss has reemerged

Unprecedented this, unprecedented that – catastrophe, catastrophe! It’s worse than we thought!
It’s all getting to be a big yawn. People hear “unprecedented” and it’s like, “Oh, yeah, here they go again.” Folks probably listen for laugh value, or to watch what the This-report-shocked-me Brigade are putting on this time in terms of another Let’s-scare-the-pants-off-them pantomime.
Does anyone have a list of all these reports and can give us a tally of how many times they’ve used that word? Whatever it is, it’s bound to be unprecedented!

Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher now than during any century in the past 44,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 120,000 years, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

Except ~40 years ago the experts were saying the opposite. Nimoy starts talking about Baffin Island ~3’30” into the video.

Gifford Miller (Professor, Department of Geological Sciences @University of Colorado at Boulder)
talks about the cooling starting 3,000 years ago. Some of us are old enough to remember this stuff…

“Does anyone have a list of all these reports and can give us a tally of how many times they’ve used that word? Whatever it is, it’s bound to be unprecedented!”
What I mean is how many titles have held that word or how many reports use the word at least once, not how many times they use it in each report.

It’s also true that it could have been warmer in the past at other points in the last 50k years, without the ice having melted as much. The GISP2 temperature record shows warmer temps in Greenland over the last 10,000 than at present. It’s quite possible the same is true of northern canada.

Karl W. Braun

East of Greenland? Maybe they were really in Iceland. LOL!

Two problems I see are historical. One is the Medieval Period proved the water tables were higher allowing the Vikings access to the Minnesota area and they Mapped all the shores of Greenland. Wine grapes were grown in England.
Now, one thought in his favor. If the Sunspot Activity we have seen in the last three hundred years was typical during the Medieval period then we can see some proof of accumulated heat being kept by green house gases as a maintenance tool so that Earth didn’t suffer radical changes in climate during the solar minimums at the beginning of each century. Then it is possible for a century to stand out as the warmest.
If so we can credit the great surge in sunspot activity from 1934 to 1965 and from 1975 to Dec. 2007. It gave us our strongest hurricane seasons known to us at the beginning of this century.
Most Sincerely,
Paul Pierett

Adam Gallon
oldseadog

Cassanders:
Not Freudian slip, just sloppy work.
Just like the rest of the paper.

Jimbo

I don’t know about the Eastern Canadian Arctic being the warmest in 44,000 years or 120,000 years. The following should assist in evaluating this claim.

Abstract
We therefore conclude that for a priod in the Early Holocene, probably for a millenium or more, the Arctic Ocean was free of sea ice at least for shorter periods in the summer. This may serve as an analogue to the predicted “greenhouse situation” expected to appear within our century.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007AGUFMPP11A0203F
Abstract
Arctic sea ice cover was strongly reduced during most of the early Holocene and there appear to have been periods of ice free summers in the central Arctic Ocean. This has important consequences for our understanding of the recent trend of declining sea ice, and calls for further research on causal links between Arctic climate and sea ice.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379110003185
Abstract
Calcareous nannofossils from approximately the past 7000 yr of the Holocene and from oxygen isotope stage 5 are present at 39 analyzed sites in the central Arctic Ocean. This indicates partly ice-free conditions during at least some summers. The depth of Holocene sediments in the Nansen basin is about 20 cm, or more where influenced by turbidites.
http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/content/21/3/227.abstract
Abstract
….Nevertheless, episodes of considerably reduced sea ice or even seasonally ice-free conditions occurred during warmer periods linked to orbital variations. The last low-ice event related to orbital forcing (high insolation) was in the early Holocene,…
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.010

Now, I will continue reading.

Baffin Island to the west of Greenland (as any other place on the globe) is only representative of itself and the immediate surrounding. As you can see here
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GrnlndT.htm
in the mid 1990s (hopefully with accurate records) the west coast of Greenland (Egedesminde 68.7N) was nearly 2C colder than the east coast’s and further north Scoresby Sund (70.3N). Non concluditur !

Peter Miller

The only reason this rubbish passed its pal review was because it predicted Thermageddon.
Fifty thousand years ago was the middle of the last ice age, a time hardly conducive for vegetation growth on Baffin Island. Radiocarbon dating for anything more than 50,000 years is essentially useless as the amount of C-14 in the sample would be too low to measure accurately.
My belief is the moss came the Eemian, the previous interglacial period, when it was 4-5 degrees C warmer on Baffin Island,
http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&cad=rja&ved=0CFwQFjAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffaculty.eas.ualberta.ca%2Fwolfe%2Feprints%2FFrechette_Palaeo3_2006.pdf&ei=LyNqUu_VCciA0AXy8oEo&usg=AFQjCNG1V9n5l9j60SwJEgi-epzsoACwyA

Mike McMillan

They left out a couple words, a typo no doubt.
“Located just [2724 miles] east of Greenland, the 196,000-square-mile Baffin Island is the fifth largest island in the world. “
Not after all the ice melts.

Jimbo

I see warmth, is see mosses, I see unprecedented. Now back to the real world.

Little Ice Age recorded in summer temperature reconstruction from varved sediments of Donard Lake, Baffin Island, Canada
Moore, J.J., Hughen, K.A., Miller, G.H. and Overpeck, J.T. 2001.
Average summer temperatures rose rapidly by nearly 2 °C from 1195–1220AD, ending in the warmest decade in the record (~4.3°C). A dramatic warming event is seen around the same time (~1160 AD) in a tree-ring width record from Fennoscandia (Briffa et al., 1990).
https://notendur.hi.is/~oi/AG-326%202006%20readings/Anthropocene/Moore_JOPL2001.pdf
———————————–
Regeneration of Little Ice Age bryophytes emerging from a polar glacier with implications of totipotency in extreme environments
Catherine La Farge et. al. 2013
Abstract
Across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, widespread ice retreat during the 20th century has sharply accelerated since 2004. In Sverdrup Pass, central Ellesmere Island, rapid glacier retreat is exposing intact plant communities whose radiocarbon dates demonstrate entombment during the Little Ice Age (1550–1850 AD). The exhumed bryophyte assemblages have exceptional structural integrity (i.e., setae, stem structures, leaf hair points) and have remarkable species richness (60 of 144 extant taxa in Sverdrup Pass). Although the populations are often discolored (blackened), some have developed green stem apices or lateral branches suggesting in vivo regrowth. To test their biological viability, Little Ice Age populations emerging from the ice margin were collected for in vitro growth experiments. Our results include a unique successful regeneration of subglacial bryophytes following 400 y of ice entombment. This finding demonstrates the totipotent capacity of bryophytes, the ability of a cell to dedifferentiate into a meristematic state (analogous to stem cells) and develop a new plant. In polar ecosystems, regrowth of bryophyte tissue buried by ice for 400 y significantly expands our understanding of their role in recolonization of polar landscapes (past or present). Regeneration of subglacial bryophytes broadens the concept of Ice Age refugia, traditionally confined to survival of land plants to sites above and beyond glacier margins. Our results emphasize the unrecognized resilience of bryophytes, which are commonly overlooked vis-a-vis their contribution to the establishment, colonization, and maintenance of polar terrestrial ecosystems.
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Holocene thermal maximum in the western Arctic (0–180°W)
Quaternary Science Reviews Volume 23, Issues 5–6, March 2004, Pages 529–560
D.S Kaufmana et. al.
Abstract
The spatio-temporal pattern of peak Holocene warmth (Holocene thermal maximum, HTM) is traced over 140 sites across the Western Hemisphere of the Arctic (0–180°W; north of ∼60°N). Paleoclimate inferences based on a wide variety of proxy indicators provide clear evidence for warmer-than-present conditions at 120 of these sites. At the 16 terrestrial sites where quantitative estimates have been obtained, local HTM temperatures (primarily summer estimates) were on average 1.6±0.8°C higher than present (approximate average of the 20th century), but the warming was time-transgressive across the western Arctic. As the precession-driven summer insolation anomaly peaked 12–10 ka (thousands of calendar years ago), warming was concentrated in northwest North America, while cool conditions lingered in the northeast. Alaska and northwest Canada experienced the HTM between ca 11 and 9 ka, about 4000 yr prior to the HTM in northeast Canada……
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379103002956

Jimbo

What do I see in Alaska? I know it was very localized, but then so is this study posted above.

Ancient Forest Thaws From Melting Glacial Tomb
By Laura Poppick, Staff Writer | September 20, 2013
An ancient forest has thawed from under a melting glacier in Alaska and is now exposed to the world for the first time in more than 1,000 years.
Stumps and logs have been popping out from under southern Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier — a 36.8-square-mile (95.3 square kilometers) river of ice flowing into a lake near Juneau — for nearly the past 50 years. However, just within the past year or so, researchers based at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau have noticed considerably more trees popping up, many in their original upright position and some still bearing roots and even a bit of bark,….
http://www.livescience.com/39819-ancient-forest-thaws.html

Our Arctic warm period is unprecedented, never have we seen such Warmth in the last 44,000 years. If you believe this, you will believe anything. What a crock of horseshit.

Jimbo

I am going to draw the tree line right here and go have my breakfast.

Abstract
….Here we present palaeoecological evidence for changes in terrestrial vegetation and lake characteristics during an episode of climate warming that occurred between 5,000 and 4,000 years ago at the boreal treeline in central Canada. The initial transformation — from tundra to forest-tundra on land, which coincided with increases in lake productivity, pH and ratio of inflow to evaporation — took only 150 years, which is roughly equivalent to the time period often used in modelling the response of boreal forests to climate warming5,6. The timing of the treeline advance did not coincide with the maximum in high-latitude summer insolation predicted by Milankovitch theory7,….
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v361/n6409/abs/361243a0.html
Abstract
……Tree birches (Betula pubescens Ehrh., B. pendula Roth.) reached the present-day shoreline of Barents Sea in Bolshezemelskaya tundra and 72°N in Taimyr between 8000 and 9000 BP……
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1552004?uid=2&uid=4&sid=00000000000000
Abstract
The palynological record of Late-Quaternary arctic tree-line in northwest Canada
Open woodlands with black spruce grew as far north as Sleet Lake from 8400 to 3500 yr BP. These woodlands gradually retreated to just south of Reindeer Lake during the late Holocene….
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0034-6667(93)90040-2
Abstract
Holocene pollen stratigraphy indicating climatic and tree-line changes derived from a peat section at Ortino, in the Pechora lowland, northern Russia
….Trees and a climate warmer than at present persisted until c. 3000 14C yr BP, when forests disappeared and modern dwarf-shrub tundra vegetation developed.
http://hol.sagepub.com/content/10/5/611.short

MikeB

From the IPCC’s Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (2005)

2.7.4.2 Following the sudden end of the Younger Dryas, the Arctic entered several thousand years of conditions that were warmer and probably moister than today ……… most of the Arctic
experienced summers that were warmer (1–2 ºC) than at present during the early to middle Holocene……. the mean July temperature along the northern coastline of Russia may have been 2.5 to 7.0 ºC warmer than present.