Dataset Information
Late Holocene paleoecological and paleoclimatic data from moss peatbanks in the western Antarctic Peninsula
Data DOI:
Cite as
Yu, Z. (2017) "Late Holocene paleoecological and paleoclimatic data from moss peatbanks in the western Antarctic Peninsula" U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) Data Center. doi:
AMD - DIF Record(s)
We used subfossil mosses and peats to document changes in regional climate, cryosphere, and terrestrial ecosystems in the western Antarctic Peninsula at ~65S latitude. We find that most peat-forming ecosystems have initiated since 2800 cal BP, in response to warmer summers and increasing summer insolation. The period at 900-600 cal BP was coldest as indicated by ice advance, abundance of kill ages from ice-entombed mosses exposed recently from retreating glacial ice, and apparent gap in peatbank initiation. Furthermore, the discovery of a novel Antarctic hairgrass (Deschampsia antarctica) peatland at 2300-1200 cal BP from the mainland Antarctic Peninsula suggests a much warmer climate than the present. A warming and wetting climate in the 1980s caused very high carbon accumulation in a Polytrichum strictum moss peatbank. Our results document dramatic transformations of landscape and ecosystems in response to past warmer climate, providing a telltale sign for what may come in the future.
Date Created:
USAP-DC (current)
Spatial Extent(s)
West: -68.5, East: -60.8, South: -67.6, North: -64
Temporal Extent(s)
Start: 2013-06-01 - End: 2015-05-31
  1. Yu, Z., D. W. Beilman, and J. Loisel (2016), Transformations of landscape and peat- forming ecosystems in response to late Holocene climate change in the western Antarctic Peninsula, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 7186-7195, doi:10.1002/2016GL069380. (doi:10.1002/2016GL069380)
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This dataset has been downloaded 15 times since March 2017 (based on unique date-IP combinations)