Constraints on paleoclimate from 11.5 to 5.0 ka from shoreline dating and hydrologic budget modeling of Baqan Tso, southwestern Tibetan Plateau

Tyler Huth, Adam M. Hudson, Jay Quade, Lei Guoliang, Zhang Hucai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

14C dating of shoreline deposits of closed-basin lake Baqan Tso in the western Tibetan Plateau shows that lake level regressed from the undated highstand (46m above modern, 4.3× modern surface area) of likely earliest Holocene age by 11.5ka, and remained larger than modern until at least ≈5.0ka. The shoreline record broadly matches other regional climate records, with lake level closely following Northern Hemisphere summer insolation overprinted by sub-millennial lake-level oscillations. A model coupling modern land runoff and lake surface heat closely reproduces estimated modern precipitation of ≈240mm/yr. We estimate that the Baqan Tso basin required ≈380mm/yr precipitation to sustain the maximum early Holocene lake area, a 55% increase over modern. Precipitation increases, not glacial meltwater, drove lake-level changes, as Baqan Tso basin was not glaciated during the Holocene. Our estimate assumes early Holocene insolation (≈1.3% overall increase), and mean annual increases of 2°C in temperature, and 37% in relative humidity. We additionally developed a Holocene precipitation history for Baqan Tso using dated paleolake areas. Using the modern and early Holocene model results as end-members, we estimate precipitation in the western Tibetan Plateau which was 300-380mm/yr between 5.0 and 11.5ka, with error of ±29-57mm/yr (±12-15%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-93
Number of pages14
JournalQuaternary Research (United States)
Volume83
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Keywords

  • Carbon-14 dating
  • Holocene
  • Monsoon
  • Paleohydrologic model
  • Paleolake
  • Precipitation
  • Shoreline dating
  • Tibetan Plateau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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