Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 134, Issue 1–2, pp 499–512 | Cite as

Mid-late Holocene Asian monsoon evolution indicated by peat deposits in the source area of the Yellow River, northeastern Tibetan Plateau

  • Qingfeng WangEmail author
  • Huijun JinEmail author
  • Yadong Huang
Original Paper


Study of climatic evolution in the source area of the Yellow River (SAYR) and its mechanisms is of significance for understanding and predicting the climate and environmental changes and permafrost evolution on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau (TP). This study reconstructed the Asian monsoon and climatic evolution in SAYR since 6.1 cal (cal = the calendar year, as below) ka BP in the mid-late Holocene using geochemical parameters (i.e., SiO2/[RO+R2O], SiO2/Al2O3, SiO2/TiO2, SiO2/[Al2O3 + Fe2O3], chemical index of alteration (Al2O3/[Al2O3 + CaO* + Na2O + K2O]), chemical index of weathering (Al2O3/[Al2O3 + CaO* + Na2O]), [CaO + K2O + Na2O]/Al2O3 and K/Na ratios) of peat deposits and AMS 14C chronology. The climate was warm and humid between 6.1 and 5.4 cal ka BP, with weak winter monsoon intensity and strong summer monsoon intensity, and accompanied by strong chemical weathering and leaching. From 5.4 to 1.5 cal ka BP, the climate was relatively cold and dry with enhanced winter monsoon and weakened summer monsoon intensities. During 1.5 and 0.8 cal ka BP, with the winter and summer monsoon changing rapidly, lower winter monsoon intensity, higher summer monsoon intensity, and higher chemical weathering and leaching since 6.1 cal ka BP indicated a warm and humid regional climate. It has been relatively cold and dry as a whole, with a trend of being warm and wet, since 0.8 cal ka BP, accompanied by gradually weakened winter monsoon intensity, gradually enhanced summer monsoon intensity, and gradually enhanced chemical weathering and leaching. The Asian monsoon and climatic evolution process in SAYR is highly unstable and has undergone centennial–millennial scale oscillations since 6.1 cal ka BP. Also, six phases at 6.1–5.9, 4.5–4.2, 2.7–2.4, 1.9–1.7, 1.5–1.4, and 0.6–0.4 cal ka BP correspond with cold events recorded by peat and lacustrine deposits and ice cores on the northeastern and eastern TP and with deep-sea sediments in high-latitude regions in the Northern Hemisphere. The results show that climate change in SAYR on the northeastern TP has been consistent with global climate change since the mid-late Holocene.



We thank Qingbai Wu (Q.B. Wu) and Tingjun Zhang (T.J. Zhang) for their constructive suggestions and help on experimental design and sample analysis. We are grateful for helpful comments from an anonymous reviewer, and thank Bing Liu (B. Liu) and Xuemei Chen (X.M. Chen) for their helpful suggestions on revision manuscript.

Funding information

This study is supported by the CAS Key Research Program (grant number KZZD-EW-13), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (grant numbers 41501080), the Talent Fund of Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, CAS (grant number 51Y551D71), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Project (grant number 2016 M602900), and the Research Fund of the State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering (grant number 52Y452F21 and 52Y652J11).


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and ResourcesChinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)LanzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Civil EngineeringHarbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinPeople’s Republic of China

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