A climate threshold at the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau

Xiuju Liu, Steven M. Colman, Erik T. Brown, Zhisheng An, Weijian Zhou, A. J.Timothy Jull, Yongsong Huang, Peng Cheng, Weiguo Liu, Hai Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Proxy records of summer monsoon moisture at Lake Qinghai on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau reveal a late Quaternary climate history that is subtly different from that of speleothems from southern and eastern China. Total organic carbon and authigenic carbonate in two independently analyzed and dated cores indicate (1) relative stability and aridity during the glacial interval, (2) small variations during the Bølling-Allerød and the Younger Dryas intervals, (3) comparatively abrupt change at the late Pleistocene/Holocene transition, and (4) relatively high variability during a wet early Holocene. Taken together, the data suggest that a climate threshold exists for penetration of Asian monsoon rainfall onto the Tibetan Plateau, a threshold that was crossed at the beginning of the Holocene. Conceptually, the threshold simply may be related to the topographic barrier that the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau presents to the landward penetration of the monsoon, or it may be related to nonlinearities in the climate system itself, such as sudden shifts in the configuration of the Westerly jet stream. Different mechanisms for producing a threshold are not mutually exclusive and may have combined to affect the dynamics of the Asian monsoon. In any case, the threshold is related to the presence of the Tibetan Plateau, which has a profound influence on the Asia monsoon system. Key Points Proxy records at Lake Qinghai reveal a different climate history A climate threshold exists for penetration of Asian monsoon rainfall The threshold is related to the presence of the Tibetan Plateau

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5598-5604
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume41
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 16 2014

Keywords

  • Asian Monsoon
  • Lake Qinghai

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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    Liu, X., Colman, S. M., Brown, E. T., An, Z., Zhou, W., Jull, A. J. T., Huang, Y., Cheng, P., Liu, W., & Xu, H. (2014). A climate threshold at the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. Geophysical Research Letters, 41(15), 5598-5604. https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GL060833