The sand dunes reveal how climate changes affect the Arctic landscape and its stability over time


Sand dunes in Arctic Sweden?! In August Thomas Stevens undertook fieldwork in northernmost Sweden to trace past sand dune activity, its link to fire history, vegetation change, and climate shifts over the last 10 thousand years in the Arctic. He was joined by former MSc student Melanie Stammler (Bonn) and Daniel Hölbling (Salzburg) to kick off the first phase of the newly funded 3 yr “ArcDune” project (Deep Time Digital Earth, International Union of Geological Sciences). 

Sand dunes are surprisingly common in the north of Sweden, and while these dunes formed directly after the retreat of the last ice sheet, their movement has continued since then. This means the sediments in the dunes themselves record the impacts of climate change, fires, changing vegetation and humans in this highly sensitive landscape. The ArcDune project applies novel mapping and age-dating techniques to understand what these dunes tell us about how climate changes affect the Arctic landscape and its stability over time, through processes such as fires and vegetation change.

Thomas Stevens working in the sanddunes. 

The photo of the sediment shows an ancient buried soil capped by a charcoal band, representing a fire, followed by the dune 'moving' again.

For more information: contact Thomas Stevens, Senior Lecturer in physical geography:
Telephone:018-471 1788

News from the Department of Earth Sciences

Last modified: 2022-09-30