Late Quaternary environmental change record in biomarker lipid compositions of Lake Ebinur sediments, Northwestern China

Abstract

Late Quaternary paleoclimate records from arid regions help us understand the response of ecological systems to natural climate change to place recent changes in a longer-term perspective. In this research, a biogeochemical analysis of a sediment core from Lake Ebinur, Xinjiang, allowed us to infer the climate and environmental changes in the late Quaternary in arid northwestern China. The combined lipid biomarkers and bulk biogeochemical properties (TOC, δ13Corg) revealed moderately wet conditions from 34 to 28 ka, favoring the growth of terrestrial vegetation. The subsequent period from 28 to 13 ka was dominated by aquatic plants, algae and microbes, indicating cold and dry conditions. Ameliorated regional moisture conditions were deduced from the higher carbon preference index (CPI) and from δ13Corg values from 13 to 3.6 ka. The optimum climate conditions occurred from 9 to 5 ka. Several climatic events also exist in the Lake Ebinur records with a wide distribution into other regions. Our biogeochemical-based paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental reconstruction is generally synchronous with sedimentary records from mid-latitude Eurasia and the NGRIP ice core record, which probably has a certain linkage with the 45°N summer insolation. We propose that summer insolation conditions in the northern hemisphere might have an impact on the climate and environmental changes in arid northwestern China in the late Quaternary.

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Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Haiao Zeng and Dr. Cheng Zhao for their experimental assistances. We also thank two anonymous reviewers and the editors for their helpful comments and suggestions, which improved the manuscript. This research was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2017YFA0603400) and National Science Foundation of China (No. 41671200, U1603242).

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Correspondence to Jinglu Wu.

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Zhou, J., Wu, J., Ma, L. et al. Late Quaternary environmental change record in biomarker lipid compositions of Lake Ebinur sediments, Northwestern China. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) 108, 2361–2371 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531-019-01767-x

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Keywords

  • Biomarker
  • Climate and environmental change
  • Late Quaternary
  • Lake Ebinur
  • Northwestern China