The paleoclimate since 14 kyr BP ( 14 C age) was reconstructed based on a 16.22-m-long sediment core collected from Lake Yanhaizi, a saline lake located near the northern limit of the East Asian summer monsoon in Inner Mongolia. Coarse sediments were deposited there during a shrinkage phase of the lake when sand dunes reactivated. These sediments have low organic carbon contents but high maturity indices, indicating that they were deposited in an arid environment. By contrast, based on high organic contents and low maturity indices, fine sediments were deposited during periods of high lake stand in a humid environment. It was in general dry between 8.0 and 4.3 kyr BP. The above dry and wet phases are consistent with those recovered from the arid–semiarid transition zone elsewhere, but are unlike the widely perceived humid Holocene Megathermal reported in east China and the newly reconstructed record in the alpine Retreat Lake in Taiwan. The discrepancy may be due to a relative insensitivity to humidity changes in these two areas since they have both been under the total influence of the summer monsoon. On the other hand, much enhanced evaporation over higher monsoon precipitation at Lake Yanhaizi reduces the effective humidity in the warm climate near the northern boundary of the summer monsoon. This also accounts for the fact the high-temperature Holocene Megathermal, as revealed in the Okinawa Trough and the northern South China Sea, is correlated to the dry phases at Lake Yanhaizi. Conversely, the 4–2-kyr BP coldest period in the Holocene corresponds to a wet phase at Lake Yanhaizi.
"Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology" – Elsevier
Published: Apr 15, 2003
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