Abstract
Stötter, J. and Wastl, M. (1996). Holocene palaeoclimatic investigations in Northern Iceland. 26th International Arctic Workshop, Arctic and Alpine Environments, Past and Present, Program with Abstracts, 1996, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, 141-143.


Temperature Variations in Northern Iceland 6000 BP - Present
The curve of temperature variations in Northern Iceland since c. 6000 BP does not give the absolute amplitude of the variations. From glacier history mean annual temperatures c. 1.5 K lower than today can be inferred for the post-Preboreal advances (Stötter, 1994). As the mass balance of glaciers in Northern Iceland is heavily dependent on winter accumulation (Caseldine and Stötter, 1993), this interpretation is limited by the lack of knowledge about Holocene precipitation conditions before this century. The altitude of the tree line during the climatically most favourable periods in the Holocene corresponds to a 1.5 - 2 K rise in mean summer temperatures compared to today. This gives a cautious estimate of 3 K for the range of Holocene temperature variations (Stötter, 1994).

Distinction of Temperature and Precipitation Variations
Investigations of the relationship of glacier behaviour - temperature/precipitation - sea ice conditions for Northern Iceland in the period of meteorological measurements show a positive correlation of temperature and precipitation (Kugelmann, 1989). This is contradictory to the palaeoclimatic interpretation of palynological findings from Northern Iceland which distinguishes improved (warm and/or dry) and poor (cold and/or wet) climatic conditions. One of the key questions for the Holocene palaeoclimatic record is therefore to distinguish temperature from precipitation variations. This requires the reconstruction of the spatial-temporal variations of temperature controlled environmental indicators (tree line, lower limit of periglacial processes). The potential of the d13C record as a palaeoclimatic proxy is being tested.

Sea Ice and Climatic Conditions in Northern Iceland
For the period since the Little Ice Age there is a good correlation between temperature and precipitation conditions in Northern Iceland and the presence of sea ice off the Icelandic coast (Kugelmann, 1989). This requires the integration of the Holocene terrestrial palaeoclimatic proxy series with the variations of the sea ice cover in the North Atlantic during the Holocene.

References
Caseldine, C. and Stötter, J. (1993). 'Little Ice Age' glaciation of Tröllaskagi peninsula, northern Iceland: climatic implications for reconstructed equilibrium line altitudes (ELAs). The Holocene, 3(4), 357-366.
Häberle, T. (1991). Spät- und postglaziale Gletschergeschichte des Hörgárdalur-Gebietes, Tröllaskagi, Nordisland. PhD thesis, University of Zurich.
Kugelmann, O. (1989). Gletschergeschichtliche Untersuchungen im Svarfaðardalur und Skíðadalur, Tröllaskagi, Nordisland. Unpublished diploma thesis, Institute of Geography, University of Munich.
Stötter, J. (1991). Geomorphologische und landschaftsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen im Svarfaðardalur-Skíðadalur, Tröllaskagi, N-Island. Münchener Geographische Abhandlungen, B9, 166 pp.
Stötter, J. (1994). Changing the Holocene record - a call for international interdisciplinary co-operation. In: Stötter, J. and Wilhelm, F. (eds.), Environmental Change in Iceland, Münchener Geographische Abhandlungen, B12, 257-273.