Late Holocene sea-level change in Arctic Norway

Robert L. Barnett*, W. Roland Gehrels, Dan J. Charman, Margot H. Saher, William A. Marshall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Relative sea-level data from the pre-industrial era are required for validating geophysical models of glacio-isostatic adjustment as well as for testing models used to make sea-level predictions based on future climate change scenarios. We present the first late Holocene (past ~3300 years) relative sea-level reconstruction for northwestern Norway based on investigations in South Hinnøya in the Vesterålen - Lofoton archipelago. Sea-level changes are reconstructed from analyses of salt-marsh and estuarine sediments and the micro-organisms (foraminifera and testate amoebae) preserved within. The 'indicative meaning' of the microfauna is established from their modern distributions. Records are dated by radiocarbon, 201Pb, 137Cs and chemostratigraphical analyses. Our results show a continuous relative sea-level decline of 0.7-0.9mmyr-1 for South Hinnøya during the late Holocene. The reconstruction extends the relative sea-level trend recorded by local tide gauge data which is only available for the past ~25 years. Our reconstruction demonstrates that existing models of shoreline elevations and GIA overpredict sea-level positions during the late Holocene. We suggest that models might be adjusted in order to reconcile modelled and reconstructed sea-level changes and ultimately improve understanding of GIA in Fennoscandia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-230
Number of pages17
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date19 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Foraminifera
  • Geochronology
  • Glacio-isostatic adjustment
  • Late Holocene
  • Salt-marsh
  • Sea-level reconstruction
  • Testate amoebae

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