Abstract : After the last glacial maximum (LGM; 18,000 years BP) plants migrated onto areas made free by the retreating ice sheets. Pollen records document changes in ecosystems, and are an important proxy for the reconstruction of climate parameters. Here, we quantify changes in January temperature (Tjan) over the past 14,000 years using 216 European pollen records. We used functional principal component analysis to evaluate the patterns of change over this period of time. Between 14 ka and 12 ka, Tjan records show comparable changes across Europe. After this time period, northwest and southeast Europe experienced differing trends in Tjan, trends that became pronounced by 9ka. The spatial gradient of Tjan records is well-correlated with the overall change from steppe to increasingly diverse forest ecosystems. In particular, differential incorporation of conifer vs. deciduous species into forest ecosystems, based on differential colonization out of refugia, likely resulted in albedo gradients over Europe that affected regional Tjan.