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Pollen-inferred Holocene vegetation and climate histories in Taro Co, southwestern Tibetan Plateau

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  • Geology
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Chinese Science Bulletin

Abstract

A 310-cm-long sediment core, covering the last 10,200 years, was collected from Taro Co on the southwestern Tibetan Plateau and analyzed for pollen, grain size and total inorganic carbon content. The pollen data showed that vegetation changed from alpine steppe to alpine meadow during 10,200–8,900 cal a BP, to alpine steppe dominated by Artemisia during 8,900–7,400 cal a BP, to alpine meadow during 7,400–3,300 cal a BP and to alpine steppe after 3,300 cal a BP. Correspondingly, the pollen, grain size and total inorganic carbon content results revealed climatic change in this area over four stages. The initial stage was from 10,200 to 8,900 cal a BP, during which the climate changed from cold-dry to warm-humid. The second stage (8,900–7,400 cal a BP) was characterized by a warm and dry climate. However, at approximately 7,400 cal a BP, the climate began to become cold and humid, which continued until 3,300 cal a BP. The last stage, from 3,300 cal a BP to present, was characterized as cold and increasingly arid. Climatic events of the early and mid-late Holocene showed that the area was significantly affected by the westerlies. However, the mid-Holocene climate in Taro Co was controlled by the Indian monsoon. The mid-late Holocene depositional environment record of Taro Co was very important to further elaborate the degree of influence by the westerlies or Indian monsoon.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions, Dr. Hu Xing, Dr. Peng Ping and Huang Lei for field assistance, Dr. Yang Ruimin for plotting assistance, Prof. Xu Qinghai and his team members for pollen sample analysis and identification and Dr. Haberzettl T. for providing partial data of water depth. This work was supported by the Strategic Priority Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB03030400 and XDA05120300), the Key Project for National S&T Basic Investigation of China (2012FY111400), the Key Project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41190082) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41171162).

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Correspondence to Qingfeng Ma or Liping Zhu.

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Ma, Q., Zhu, L., Lü, X. et al. Pollen-inferred Holocene vegetation and climate histories in Taro Co, southwestern Tibetan Plateau. Chin. Sci. Bull. 59, 4101–4114 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11434-014-0505-1

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