Articles | Volume 19, issue 11
Research article
15 Nov 2023
Research article |  | 15 Nov 2023

Moss kill dates and modeled summer temperature track episodic snowline lowering and ice cap expansion in Arctic Canada through the Common Era

Gifford H. Miller, Simon L. Pendleton, Alexandra Jahn, Yafang Zhong, John T. Andrews, Scott J. Lehman, Jason P. Briner, Jonathan H. Raberg, Helga Bueltmann, Martha Raynolds, Áslaug Geirsdóttir, and John R. Southon

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Cited articles

Anderson, R. K., Miller, G. H., Briner, J. P., Lifton, N. A., and DeVogel, S. B.: A millennial perspective on Arctic warming from 14C in quartz and plants emerging from beneath ice caps. 2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L01502,, 2008. 
Andrews, J. T. and Mahaffy, M. A. W.: Growth Rate of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and Sea Level Lowering (with Emphasis on the 115,000 BP Sea Level Low), Quaternary Res., 6, 167–83, 1976. 
Andrews, J. T., Davis, P. T., Wright, C.: Little Ice Age permanent snowcover in the Eastern Canadian Arctic: Extent mapper from LandSat-1 satellite imagery, Geog. Annaler, 58A, 71–81, 1976. 
Anonymous: (last access: March 2023), created between April 2013 and April 2017. 
Birch, L., Cronin, T., and Tziperman, E.: Glacial Inception on Baffin Island: The Role of Insolation, Meteorology, and Topography, J. Climate, 30, 4047–4064,, 2017. 
Short summary
Receding Arctic ice caps reveal moss killed by earlier ice expansions; 186 moss kill dates from 71 ice caps cluster at 250–450, 850–1000 and 1240–1500 CE and continued expanding 1500–1880 CE, as recorded by regions of sparse vegetation cover, when ice caps covered > 11 000 km2 but < 100 km2 at present. The 1880 CE state approached conditions expected during the start of an ice age; climate models suggest this was only reversed by anthropogenic alterations to the planetary energy balance.