Climate Dynamics

, Volume 50, Issue 3–4, pp 1101–1113 | Cite as

Quantitative Holocene climatic reconstructions for the lower Yangtze region of China

  • Jianyong LiEmail author
  • John Dodson
  • Hong Yan
  • Weiming Wang
  • James B. Innes
  • Yongqiang Zong
  • Xiaojian Zhang
  • Qinghai Xu
  • Jian Ni
  • Fengyan Lu


Quantitative proxy-based and high-resolution palaeoclimatic datasets are scarce for the lower reaches of the Yangtze River (LYR) basin. This region is in a transitional vegetation zone which is climatologically sensitive; and as a birthplace for prehistorical civilization in China, it is important to understand how palaeoclimatic dynamics played a role in affecting cultural development in the region. We present a pollen-based and regionally-averaged Holocene climatic twin-dataset for mean total annual precipitation (PANN) and mean annual temperature (TANN) covering the last 10,000 years for the LYR region. This is based on the technique of weighted averaging-partial least squares regression to establish robust calibration models for obtaining reliable climatic inferences. The pollen-based reconstructions generally show an early Holocene climatic optimum with both abundant monsoonal rainfall and warm thermal conditions, and a declining pattern of both PANN and TANN values in the middle to late Holocene. The main driving forces behind the Holocene climatic changes in the LYR area are likely summer solar insolation associated with tropical or subtropical macro-scale climatic circulations such as the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), Western Pacific Subtropical High (WPSH), and El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Regional multi-proxy comparisons indicate that the Holocene variations in precipitation and temperature for the LYR region display an in-phase relationship with other related proxy records from southern monsoonal China and the Indian monsoon-influenced regions, but are inconsistent with the Holocene moisture or temperature records from northern monsoonal China and the westerly-dominated region in northwestern China. Overall, our comprehensive palaeoclimatic dataset and models may be significant tools for understanding the Holocene Asian monsoonal evolution and for anticipating its future dynamics in eastern Asia.


Lower Yangtze China Holocene Climate Pollen Quantitative reconstructions 



This work was financially funded by projects from the State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology in the Institute of Earth Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y652001589), the West Light Foundation of The Chinese Academy of Sciences (XAB2016B01), the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC 41522305 and 41403018), other projects from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (QYZDB-SSW-DQC001 and 132B61KYSB20160003), and Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology of China (QNLM2016ORP0202).


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXi’anChina
  2. 2.School of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Economic Stratigraphy and Palaeogeography, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  4. 4.Geography DepartmentDurham UniversityDurhamUK
  5. 5.Department of Earth SciencesThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  6. 6.Guangzhou Institute of GeographyGuangzhouChina
  7. 7.School of Geographic and Oceanographic SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  8. 8.Institute of Nihewan ArchaeologyHebei Normal UniversityShijiazhuangChina
  9. 9.College of Chemistry and Life SciencesZhejiang Normal UniversityJinhuaChina

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