Two lake-sediment cores from the western and central Canadian Arctic were used to investigate late Holocene climate variability in the region. Both cores were analyzed for pollen, organic-matter, biogenic-silica, and magnetic susceptibility, and were dated using a combination of 210Pb and 14C techniques. Core MB01, from southwestern Victoria Island, provided a 2600-year-long record. Fossil pollen percentages, along with other parameters, suggest the occurrence of a cold period around 2400 cal yr BP (450 BC), followed by slightly warmer conditions by 1800 cal yr BP (150 AD), and then a return to cooler conditions throughout much of the last millennium. Core SL06, from southern Boothia Peninsula, shows more subtle changes in pollen percentages over its 2500 year duration, but an increase in Cyperaceae and decrease in Oxyria
pollen around 1600 cal yr BP (350 AD) are indicative of warmer conditions at that time. Quantitative climate reconstructions from these pollen sequences were compared to two other pollen-based climate records from the region and indicate the presence of a widespread wet period ~1500 yr BP (500 AD), and a cool and dry Little Ice Age. In the reconstructions based on pollen percentage data, the 20th century summer temperature and annual precipitation in the central and western Canadian Arctic was comparable to that which occurred over the last 2500 years. However, pollen-influx values increase in the most recent sediments, suggesting high plant productivity during the late 20th century.