, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 543-550

A possible impact of cooling over the Tibetan Plateau on the mid-Holocene East Asian monsoon climate

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Abstract

By using a 9-level global atmospheric general circulation model developed at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP9L-AGCM) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the authors investigated the response of the East Asian monsoon climate to changes both in orbital forcing and the snow and glaciers over the Tibetan Plateau at the mid-Holocene, about 600 calendar years before the present (6 kyr BP). With the Earth’s orbital parameters appropriate for the mid-Holocene, the IAP9L-AGCM computed warmer and wetter conditions in boreal summer than for the present day. Under the precondition of continental snow and glacier cover existing over part of the Tibetan Plateau at the mid-Holocene, the authors examined the regional climate response to the Tibetan Plateau cooling. The simulations indicated that climate changes in South Asia and parts of central Asia as well as in East Asia are sensitive to the Tibetan Plateau cooling at the mid-Holocene, showing a significant decrease in precipitation in northern India, northern China and southern Mongolia and an increase in Southeast Asia during boreal summer. The latter seems to correspond to the weakening, southeastward shift of the Asian summer monsoon system resulting from reduced heat contrast between the Eurasian continent and the Pacific and Indian Oceans when a cooling over the Tibetan Plateau was imposed. The simulation results suggest that the snow and glacier environment over the Tibetan Plateau is an important factor for mid-Holocene climate change in the areas highly influenced by the Asian monsoon.