Detailed diatom records within surface and core sediments from the Southern Bering Continental Shelf (SBCS) reveal that the Holocene evolution of sea-ice distribution is associated with low pressure patterns. Holocene sea-ice distribution over the SBCS was mainly controlled by the location of the Aleutian Low. The corresponding paleoceanographic and paleoclimate conditions can be divided into three stages: (1) the early Holocene (before 7000 cal. yr BP) was characterized by extensive sea-ice distribution under two low-pressure cells, which covered the western Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska, respectively. (2) Between 3000 and 7000 cal. yr BP, the low-pressure system over the Gulf of Alaska became weak, causing total sea-ice mass over the SBCS to retreat. (3) In the past 3000 years, prevailing southwesterly winds over the SBCS due to the developing Aleutian Low have reduced further sea-ice cover on the SBCS. These paleoclimatic changes were probably a response to ENSO variation. The timings of water mass exchanges on the SBCS coincided with sea-level change along the Alaskan Peninsula. As a result, subsequent morphologic alterations have also influenced the paleoceanographic condition of the SBCS. The effect of the surface coastal water and bottom marine water on the SBCS intensified about 6000 cal. yr BP when sea level increased.
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