Past Climate

The early Holocene (Preboreal 10,000—9000 BP) climate on the Faroe Islands was Arctic-Subarctic with the arrival and dominance of dwarf birch (Betula nana). In Boreal times (9000—8000 BP), the climate changed toward more oceanic conditions, with the disappearance of Betula nana. Following the introduction of a rather warm and wet climate, shrub species such as Juniperus and Salix expanded, covering the lowlands, together with tall-herb vegetation and grass heaths. The Atlantic period (8000—5000 BP) was wet, with evidence of strong leaching of soils. Peat began to accumulate, especially on high ground. From the onset of the Subboreal (5000—2500 BP), the climate became cooler and wetter, leading to widespread peat formation and decreasing amounts of Juniperus and Salix. The Subatlantic period (2500—0 BP) heralded the arrival of humans in two phases, AD 600—700 (monks from Ireland) and AD 800—900 (the Vikings), and was punctuated by the Little Ice Age (1300—1900 AD).

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