Midge-inferred Holocene summer temperatures in Southeastern British Columbia, Canada

Marianne Chase, Christina Bleskie, Ian R. Walker, Daniel G. Gavin, Feng Sheng Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Using fossil midge stratigraphies, we inferred Holocene summer temperatures at three subalpine lakes in eastern British Columbia. The late-glacial sediment indicated cool conditions, with an abundance of Microspectra atrofasciata/radialis type fossils at Thunder Lake and Redmountain Lake, and Sergentia at Windy Lake. Sergentia and Tanytarsus lugens/Corynocera oliveri type were dominant in the early Holocene, together with Chironomus at Redmountain Lake. At Thunder and Windy lakes, the early Holocene was dominated by warm-adapted taxa such as Microtendipes. Quantitative midge-temperature inference models reconstruct a 4 to 8 °C rise in mean July air temperature for Windy and Thunder lakes at the Pleistocene/Holocene transition. Early-Holocene temperatures averaged 3 to 4 °C warmer than those extant today. In contrast, no long-term temperature trend was evident at Redmountain Lake. This site may not reflect actual trends in air temperature due to runoff from a persistent snow pack in the watershed. Comparison of midge and pollen data suggests an inverse relationship between summer temperature and precipitation through the middle to late Holocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-259
Number of pages16
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 7 2008


  • British Columbia
  • Chironomidae
  • Climate change
  • Holocene
  • Palaeotemperature reconstruction
  • Transfer function


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