This chapter describes the role that paleolimnological studies have played in reconstructing the geomorphological origin and development of high latitude lakes. A description is provided on how both organic and inorganic components incorporated into lake sediments record changes within lakes as well as in the surrounding environment. This allows tracking of past changes in climate, hydrology, vegetation, sea level, human impacts on fish and wildlife populations, ultraviolet radiation, and atmospheric and terrestrial pollutants. The chapter covers some synthesis studies that have combined paleolimnological data from multiple lakes across the Arctic and Antarctic in order to identify the magnitude and direction of environmental changes at regional to continental scales. The geographic scope of the chapter includes the Arctic north of the tree line (tundra or polar desert catchments), the Antarctic continent and Antarctic Peninsula region, with occasional reference to the warmer sub-Arctic and sub-Antarctic regions.
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