Annual needle production (PROD) of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and pine pollen accumulation rates (PAR) are compared along a 5-site transect from the Arctic Circle to the northern timberline. PROD is calculated using the Needle Trace Method (NTM). PAR is monitored by two series of pollen traps, located in the centres of mires and within forests, respectively. There is a strong year-to-year agreement in PAR and PROD between the sites for the common 19-year period for which both proxies are available. Mean July temperature of the previous year (TJUL–1) correlates statistically significantly with PROD at all five sites and with PAR in the four northernmost sites. There is also a significant relationship between TJUN–1 and PROD at all sites, and TJUN and PAR at the two northernmost sites. PROD and PAR correlate most strongly in the three near tree line sites, where PROD explains up to 51% of the variation in PAR. On the basis of the calibration between PROD, PAR and TJUL–1, PROD and TJUL–1 are used to reconstruct past PAR. That such a reconstruction is realistic is supported by its agreement with the pollen record for 1982–2000 and with records of male flowering for the period 1956–1973. The use of PROD in reconstructing past PAR can help in interpreting the fossil pollen signal in terms of climate rather than vegetation change and in evaluating the high-resolution dating of peat profiles and calculations of the rate of peat accumulation.