From Russia with Lovely Data

Climate and the atmospheric concentration of CO2 are closely linked. Brigham-Grette et al. (p. 1421, published online 9 May) present data from Lake El'gygytgyn, in northeast Arctic Russia, that shows how climate varied between 3.6 and 2.2 million years ago, an important interval in the global cooling trend that accelerated rapidly at the end of the Miocene. Summer temperatures were about 10°C warmer than today, even though the concentration of atmospheric CO2 was similar.


Understanding the evolution of Arctic polar climate from the protracted warmth of the middle Pliocene into the earliest glacial cycles in the Northern Hemisphere has been hindered by the lack of continuous, highly resolved Arctic time series. Evidence from Lake El’gygytgyn, in northeast (NE) Arctic Russia, shows that 3.6 to 3.4 million years ago, summer temperatures were ~8°C warmer than today, when the partial pressure of CO2 was ~400 parts per million. Multiproxy evidence suggests extreme warmth and polar amplification during the middle Pliocene, sudden stepped cooling events during the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition, and warmer than present Arctic summers until ~2.2 million years ago, after the onset of Northern Hemispheric glaciation. Our data are consistent with sea-level records and other proxies indicating that Arctic cooling was insufficient to support large-scale ice sheets until the early Pleistocene.

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Supplementary Material


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Supplementary Text
Figs. S1 to S9
Tables S1 to S5
References (64–105)


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Volume 340 | Issue 6139
21 June 2013

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Received: 23 November 2012
Accepted: 24 April 2013
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Drilling operations were funded by the ICDP, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Alfred Wegener Institute and Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, the Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research (BMWF). The Russian GLAD 800 drilling system was developed and operated by DOSECC Inc. We thank all participants of the expedition for their engagement during the recovery of the ICDP 5011-1 cores. Funding of core analyses was provided by BMBF (grant no. 03G0642), the German Research Foundation (DFG, grant nos. ME 1169/21 and ME 1169/24), NSF (grant no. 0602471), the Global Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CGP-RFBR IV, grant no. RUG1-2987-MA-10), Vetenskapsrådet, the Swedish Research Council Formas, and the Kempe Foundation. P.T. acknowledges DFG Heisenberg Program (grant no. TA 540/5). We are grateful to N. Mantke, A. Shahnazarian, and various students (Univ. of Cologne) for their help in core processing and to T. Matrosova for contributing modern surface pollen data. Thanks to A. Dolan for supplying PlioMIP model output and I. Castañeda for discussions and help with figures. The data reported in this paper are archived in the databases of PANGAEA (doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.808834) and the U.S. National Geophysical Data Center (



Julie Brigham-Grette* [email protected]
Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, 611 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.
Martin Melles
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Zuelpicher Strasse 49a, D-50674 Cologne, Germany.
Pavel Minyuk
North-East Interdisciplinary Scientific Research Institute, Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Portovaya Street 16, 685000 Magadan, Russia.
Andrei Andreev
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Zuelpicher Strasse 49a, D-50674 Cologne, Germany.
Pavel Tarasov
Free University Berlin, Institute of Geological Sciences, Malteser Strasse 74-100, Haus D, D-12249 Berlin, Germany.
Robert DeConto
Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, 611 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.
Sebastian Koenig
Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, 611 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.
Norbert Nowaczyk
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany.
Volker Wennrich
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Zuelpicher Strasse 49a, D-50674 Cologne, Germany.
Peter Rosén
Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden.
Eeva Haltia
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany.
Present address: Department of Geology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, S-223 62 Lund, Sweden.
Tim Cook
Department of Physical and Earth Sciences, Worcester State University, Worcester, MA 01602, USA.
Catalina Gebhardt
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, D-27570 Bremerhaven, Germany.
Carsten Meyer-Jacob
Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden.
Jeff Snyder
Department of Geology, Bowling Green State University, OH 43403, USA.
Ulrike Herzschuh
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Research Unit Potsdam, Telegrafenberg A43, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany.


Corresponding author. E-mail: [email protected]

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