Climate change in the North – past, present and future
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The Nordic countries have produced famous polar explorers and researchers who have generated climate research schools at a variety of locations. The dependence of these countries with respect to the lifelihood of their societies, of their use of lands and seas, the exploitation of marine living and non-living resources have made climate research an eminent topic, and many outstanding discoveries of long- and short-term climate change have been made for the first time in Scandinavia. These include early contributions to our understanding of the geological effects of continent-wide glaciations during the ice ages, the complex postglacial history of the Baltic Sea and the varved sediment sequences preserved from lakes with an extraordinary seasonality in their sediment input, as well as the detailed records of temperature, ice texture and impurities and greenhouse gas variations of the last Glacial and of the Holocene preserved in the ice cores from Greenland. Iceland with its volcanic sequences and intercalated sediment layers not only preserved the history of this subaerial segment of the mid-Atlantic Ridge, but also easily datable paleoclimate records. The fate of the Vikings, who settled during the Medieval climate optimum on Iceland and later on Greenland and who lost their habitat on Greenland at the beginning of the Little Ice Age, illustrates vividly the climate-dependent subsistence of the indigenous and non-indigenous Scandinavian populations. Modern Scandinavian climate research institutions also include sophisticated modelling groups.