A 725‐year integrated offshore terrestrial varve chronology for southeastern Sweden suggests rapid ice retreat ~15 ka BP

Rachael S. Avery, Sarah L. Greenwood, Frederik Schenk, Björn M. Morén, David I. Armstrong Mckay, Lars Brunnberg, and Barbara Wohlfarth

Published: 17 November 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/bor.12490

The Swedish Varve Chronology is an unparalleled tool for linking the deglacial history of Sweden with associated palaeo‐environmental change at an annual time scale, and it forms part of Sweden's cultural heritage. A full deglacial chronology connected to the present day does not yet exist; a notable gap is in southeasternmost Sweden, where few varved records are successfully connected to reconstruct ice‐margin retreat. Deglaciation in southern Sweden covers both the climate transition to the Bølling warm period (~14.7 ka BP) and the ice‐margin transition from a subaqueous to terrestrial terminus. To facilitate investigations into the links between ice‐margin dynamics and abrupt climate change, we revisited the varve chronologies of southern Sweden. We digitized unpublished records, reanalysed existing varve thickness records, and obtained and analysed new varve series both on land and offshore. This combined approach has enabled us to refine and extend the existing south coast chronology east and 78 km northwards. Our new Skåne‐Småland chronology records 725 years of deglaciation, in addition to a younger floating chronology in parts. This chronology suggests that the glacial‐lake terminating Fennoscandian Ice Sheet in southern Sweden initially retreated northwards at ~110–160 m a−1 slowing to 60–70 m a−1 near the palaeo‐shoreline. Between today's mainland and the (now) island of Öland the retreat rates increase three‐ to fivefold. Ice‐margin retreat was initially oriented towards the north (as along the south coast), but later pivoted towards the northwest, signifying a landward retreat of terrestrial ‘Swedish’ ice that became divorced from the Baltic Sea ice‐sheet catchment. Our new 725‐year‐long varve thickness series reveals repeated multidecadal scale episodes of increased sedimentation. These likely signify phases of enhanced ice‐sheet melting that repeat and persist throughout the deglaciation of Skåne‐Småland.