Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Moisture sources of the Alashan Sand Seas in western Inner Mongolia, China during the Last Glacial Maximum and mid-Holocene

Interpretation from modern analogues, paleoclimatic simulations and geological records

  • 6 Accesses

Abstract

Knowledge of moisture sources is of great significance for understanding climatic change and landscape evolution in desert environments. In this paper, we aim to clarify moisture origins for the Alashan (Alxa) Sand Seas (ALSS) in western Inner Mongolia and their transport pathways during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and the mid-Holocene using modern analogues and paleoclimatic simulations. Precipitation data for the period 1959–2015 from meteorological stations in the study area and wind and specific humidity data from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) daily re-analysis were adopted to determine the moisture sources of summer precipitation in the ALSS. In addition paleoclimate simulations under PMIP3/CMIP5 protocols were used to detect the atmospheric circulation and precipitation at 21 ka BP and 6 ka BP over the ALSS. We also reviewed paleoclimate records from the ALSS to acquire a semi-quantitative re-construction of the moisture history during the late Pleistocene and Holocene. Our results suggest that the summer monsoon transported water vapor from the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea to the ALSS during July and August, causing increased precipitation. The dominant moisture source was from the southwest monsoon, while the East Asian summer monsoon also partly contributed to precipitation in the ALSS. The increased humidity during the period 8.2–4.2 ka BP in the ALSS, as derived from both climate simulation outputs and sedimentary records, was caused by monsoons according to the outputs of simulations. At 21 ka BP, the moisture sources of the ALSS were greatly associated with the prevailing westerlies.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Agnihotri R, Dutta K, Bhushan R et al., 2002. Evidence for solar forcing on the Indian monsoon during the last millennium. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 198(3/4): 521–527.

  2. Berger A L, 1978. Long term variations of daily insolation and Quaternary climatic changes. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 35(12): 2362–2367.

  3. Caley T, Malaizé B, Revel M et al., 2011. Orbital timing of the Indian, East Asian and African boreal monsoons and the concept of a ‘global monsoon’. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30(25/26): 3705–3715.

  4. Chen F, Chen X, Chen J et al., 2014a. Holocene vegetation history, precipitation changes and Indian Summer Monsoon evolution documented from sediments of Xingyun Lake, south-west China. Journal of Quaternary Science, 29(7): 661–674.

  5. Chen F, Li G, Zhao H et al., 2014b. Landscape evolution of the Ulan Buh Desert in northern China during the late Quaternary. Quaternary Research, 81(3): 476–487.

  6. Chen J, Huang W, Jin L et al., 2018a. A climatological northern boundary index for the East Asian summer monsoon and its interannual variability. Science China Earth Sciences, 61(1): 13–22.

  7. Chen L, Wu R, 1998. Relationship between summer rainbelt patterns in the eastern China and 500 hPa circulation anomalies over the Northern Hemisphere. Scientia Atmospherica Sinica, 22(6): 849–857. (in Chinese)

  8. Chen S, Liu J, Xie C et al., 2018b. Evolution of integrated lake status since the last deglaciation: A high-resolution sedimentary record from Lake Gonghai, Shanxi, China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 496: 175–182.

  9. Ding Y H, Li C Y, Liu Y J, 2004. Overview of the South China Sea monsoon experiment. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, 21(3): 343–360.

  10. Fan Y, Chen F, Fan T et al., 2010. Sedimentary documents and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating for formation of the present landform of the northern Ulan Buh Desert, northern China. Science China Earth Sciences, 53(11): 1675–1682.

  11. Fan Y, Wang Y, Mou X et al., 2017. Environmental status of the Jilantai Basin, North China, on the northwestern margin of the modern Asian summer monsoon domain during Marine Isotope Stage 3. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 147: 178–192.

  12. Fan Y, Zhang F, Zhang F et al., 2016. History and mechanisms for the expansion of the Badain Jaran Desert, northern China, since 20?ka: Geological and luminescence chronological evidence. The Holocene, 26(4): 532–548.

  13. Fleitmann D, Burns S J, Mangini A et al., 2007. Holocene ITCZ and Indian monsoon dynamics recorded in stalagmites from Oman and Yemen (Socotra). Quaternary Science Reviews, 26(1/2): 170–188.

  14. Fleming Z L, Monks P S, Manning A J, 2012. Review: Untangling the influence of air-mass history in interpreting observed atmospheric composition. Atmospheric Research, 104/105: 1–39.

  15. Gu Z, Liu J, Yuan B et al., 1993. The changes of monsoon in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the past 12000 years: Evidence of the geochemistry of Selincuo deposits. Chinese Science Bulletin, 38(1): 61–64. (in Chinese)

  16. Hartmann K, Wünnemann B, 2009. Hydrological changes and Holocene climate variations in NW China, inferred from lake sediments of Juyanze palaeolake by factor analyses. Quaternary International, 194(1/2): 28–44.

  17. Hastenrath S, 2007. Circulation mechanisms of climate anomalies in East Africa and the equatorial Indian Ocean. Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans, 43(1/2): 25–35.

  18. Herzschuh U, 2006. Palaeo-moisture evolution in monsoonal Central Asia during the last 50,000 years. Quaternary Science Reviews, 25(1/2): 163–178.

  19. Herzschuh U, Tarasov P, Wünnemann B et al., 2004. Holocene vegetation and climate of the Alashan Plateau, NW China, reconstructed from pollen data. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 211(1/2): 1–17.

  20. Hodell D A, Brenner M, Kanfoush S L et al., 1999. Paleoclimate of southwestern China for the past 50,000 yr inferred from lake sediment records. Quaternary Research, 52(3): 369–380.

  21. Hong Y T, Hong B, Lin Q H et al., 2003. Correlation between Indian Ocean summer monsoon and North Atlantic climate during the Holocene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 211(3/4): 371–380.

  22. Huang W, Chen J, Zhang X et al., 2015. Definition of the core zone of the “westerlies-dominated climatic regime”, and its controlling factors during the instrumental period. Science China Earth Sciences, 58(5): 676–684.

  23. Ji J F, Shen J, Balsam W et al., 2005a. Asian monsoon oscillations in the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau since the late glacial as interpreted from visible reflectance of Qinghai Lake sediments. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 233(1/2): 61–70.

  24. Ji S, Yang L Y, Yang X D et al., 2005b. Lake sediment records on climate change and human activities since the Holocene in Erhai catchment, Yunnan Province, China. Science in China Series D-Earth Sciences, 48(3): 353–363.

  25. Jin M, Li G, Li F et al., 2015. Holocene shorelines and lake evolution in Juyanze Basin, southern Mongolian Plateau, revealed by luminescence dating. The Holocene, 25(12): 1898–1911.

  26. Lau K M, Kim K M, Yang S, 2000. Dynamical and boundary forcing characteristics of regional components of the Asian summer monsoon. Journal of Climate, 13(14): 2461–2482.

  27. Lennard C, Hegerl G, 2014. Relating changes in synoptic circulation to the surface rainfall response using self-organising maps. Climate Dynamics, 44(3/4): 861–879.

  28. Leuschner D C, Sirocko F, 2003. Orbital insolation forcing of the Indian monsoon: A motor for global climate changes? Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 197(1/2): 83–95.

  29. Li C Y, Wang Q, Liu X Y et al., 1982. Tectonic Map of Asia (scale 1:8000000). Beijing: Cartographic Publishing House.

  30. Li J, Zeng Q, 2002. A unified monsoon index. Geophysical Research Letters, 29(8): 115-111-115-114.

  31. Li Y U, Wang N A, Cheng H et al., 2008. Holocene environmental change in the marginal area of the Asian monsoon: A record from Zhuye Lake, NW China. Boreas, 38(2): 349–361.

  32. Li Z, Wang N A, Cheng H et al., 2015a. Formation and environmental significance of late Quaternary calcareous root tubes in the deserts of the Alashan Plateau, Northwest China. Quaternary International, 372: 167–174.

  33. Li Z, Wang N A, Li R et al., 2015b. Indication of millennial-scale moisture changes by the temporal distribution of Holocene calcareous root tubes in the deserts of the Alashan Plateau, Northwest China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 440: 496–505.

  34. Liang X Z, Wang W C, 1998. Associations between China monsoon rainfall and tropospheric jets. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 124(552): 2597–2623.

  35. Liu C, Wang H, Jiang D, 2004. The configurable relationships between summer monsoon and precipitation over East Asia. Chinese Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, 28(5): 700–712. (in Chinese)

  36. Liu X, Shen J, Wang S et al., 2007. Southwest monsoon changes indicated by oxygen isotope of ostracode shells from sediments in Qinghai Lake since the late Glacial. Chinese Science Bulletin, 52(4): 539–544. (in Chinese)

  37. Long A, 2001. Mid-Holocene sea-level change and coastal evolution. Progress in Physical Geography, 25(3): 399–408.

  38. Long H, Lai Z, Fuchs M et al., 2012. Timing of Late Quaternary palaeolake evolution in Tengger Desert of northern China and its possible forcing mechanisms. Global and Planetary Change, 92/93: 119–129.

  39. Long H, Lai Z, Wang N et al., 2010. Holocene climate variations from Zhuyeze terminal lake records in East Asian monsoon margin in arid northern China. Quaternary Research, 74(1): 46–56.

  40. Lu R, 2001. Interannual variability of the summertime North Pacific subtropical high and its relation to atmos-pheric convection over the warm pool. Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan, 79(3): 771–783.

  41. Lu R Y, 2004. Associations among the components of the East Asian summer monsoon system in the meridional direction. Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan, 82(1): 155–165.

  42. Ma C, Zhu C, Zheng C et al., 2008. High-resolution geochemistry records of climate changes since late-glacial from Dajiuhu peat in Shennongjia Mountains, Central China. Chinese Science Bulletin, 53: 28–41.

  43. Morrill C, Overpeck J T, Cole J E et al., 2006. Holocene variations in the Asian monsoon inferred from the geochemistry of lake sediments in central Tibet. Quaternary Research, 65(2): 232–243.

  44. Overpeck J, Anderson D, Trumbore S et al., 1996. The southwest Indian monsoon over the last 18000 years. Climate Dynamics, 12(3): 213–225.

  45. Qian W, Lin X, Zhu Y et al., 2007. Climatic regime shift and decadal anomalous events in China. Climatic Change, 84(2): 167–189.

  46. Qiang M, Chen F, Wang Z et al., 2010. Aeolian deposits at the southeastern margin of the Tengger Desert (China): Implications for surface wind strength in the Asian dust source area over the past 20,000 years. Palaeo-geography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 286(1/2): 66–80.

  47. Shi X, Yu K, Chen T, 2007. Progress in researches on sea level changes in the South China Sea since Mid-Holocene. Marian Geology and Quaternary Geology, 27(5): 121–132. (in Chinese)

  48. Sun X, Du N, Chen Y et al., 1993. Holocene palynological records in Lake Selincuo, northern Xizang. Acta Bota-nica Sinica, 35: 943–950. (in Chinese)

  49. Taylor K E, Stouffer R J, Meehl G A, 2012. An overview of CMIP5 and the experiment design. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93(4): 485–498.

  50. Tian L, Yao T, MacClune K et al., 2007. Stable isotopic variations in west China: A consideration of moisture sources. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 112(D10).

  51. Trenberth K E, 1991. Climate diagnostics from global analyses-conservation of mass in ECMWF analyses. Journal of Climate, 4(7): 707–722.

  52. Wang L, Chen W, Huang G et al., 2017. Changes of the transitional climate zone in East Asia: Past and future. Climate Dynamics, 49(4): 1463–1477.

  53. Wang N A, Li Z, Li Y et al., 2012. Younger Dryas event recorded by the mirabilite deposition in Huahai Lake, Hexi Corridor, NW China. Quaternary International, 250: 93–99.

  54. Wang N A, Li Z, Li Y et al., 2013. Millennial-scale environmental changes in the Asian monsoon margin during the Holocene, implicated by the lake evolution of Huahai Lake in the Hexi Corridor of Northwest China. Quaternary International, 313/314: 100–109.

  55. Wang W, Feng Z, 2013. Holocene moisture evolution across the Mongolian Plateau and its surrounding areas: A synthesis of climatic records. Earth-Science Reviews, 122: 38–57.

  56. Wu Y, Zheng X, Zhou L, 2012. The asynchronous nature of Holocene climate variability in China and its linkage to Asian monsoon and the westerly. Research of Soil and Water Conservation, 19(1): 27–32. (in Chinese)

  57. Xiao J L, Xu Q H, Nakamura T et al., 2004. Holocene vegetation variation in the Daihai Lake region of north-central China: A direct indication of the Asian monsoon climatic history. Quaternary Science Reviews, 23(14/15): 1669–1679.

  58. Yang X, Liu T, Xiao H, 2003. Evolution of megadunes and lakes in the Badain Jaran Desert, Inner Mongolia, China during the last 31,000 years. Quaternary International, 104(1): 99–112.

  59. Yang X, Ma N, Dong J et al., 2010. Recharge to the inter-dune lakes and Holocene climatic changes in the Badain Jaran Desert, western China. Quaternary Research, 73(1): 10–19.

  60. Yang X, Williams M A J, 2003. The ion chemistry of lakes and late Holocene desiccation in the Badain Jaran Desert, Inner Mongolia, China. Catena, 51: 45–60.

  61. Yuan W, Yang Z, 2015. The Alashan Terrane did not amalgamate with North China block by the Late Permian: Evidence from Carboniferous and Permian paleomagnetic results. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 104: 145–159.

  62. Zhang H C, Ma Y Z, Li J J et al., 2001. Palaeolake evolution and abrupt climate changes during Last Glacial Period in NW China. Geophysical Research Letters, 28(16): 3203–3206.

  63. Zhang H C, Peng J L, Ma Y Z et al., 2004. Late Quaternary palaeolake levels in Tengger Desert, NW China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 211(1/2): 45–58.

  64. Zhang S W, Yang Z Y, Cioppa M T et al., 2018. A high-resolution Holocene record of the East Asian summer monsoon variability in sediments from Mountain Ganhai Lake, North China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclima-tology, Palaeoecology, 508: 17–34.

  65. Zhang X J, Jin L Y, 2016. Association of the Northern Hemisphere circumglobal teleconnection with the Asian summer monsoon during the Holocene in a transient simulation. The Holocene, 2015, 1–12.

  66. Zhao H, Li G, Sheng Y et al., 2012. Early-middle Holocene lake-desert evolution in northern Ulan Buh Desert, China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 331/332: 31–38.

  67. Zhao Y, Yu Z, Chen F et al., 2008. Holocene vegetation and climate change from a lake sediment record in the Tengger Sandy Desert, northwest China. Journal of Arid Environments, 72(11): 2054–2064.

  68. Zheng Q, Zhang H, Ming Q et al., 2014. Vegetation and environmental changes since 15 ka B.P. recorded by lake Lugu in the Southwest Monsoon Domain Region. Quaternary Sciences, 34(6): 1314–1326. (in Chinese)

  69. Zhong W, Xue J, Zheng Y et al., 2010. Climatic changes since the last deglaciation inferred from a lacustrine sedimentary sequence in the eastern Nanling Mountains, South China. Journal of Quaternary Science, 25(6): 975–984.

  70. Zhu Q, He J, Wang P, 1986. A study of circulation differences between East-Asian and Indian summer monsoons with their interaction. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, 44(4): 466–477.

  71. Zhu Z, Wu Z, Liu S et al., 1980. Introduction to the Desert in China. Beijing: Science Press. (in Chinese)

  72. Ziv B, Dayan U, Kushnir Y et al., 2006. Regional and global atmospheric patterns governing rainfall in the southern Levant. International Journal of Climatology, 26(1): 55–73.

Download references

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the editors and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on earlier draft of this paper.

Author information

Correspondence to Xiaoping Yang.

Additional information

Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41430532, No.41672182 Author: Feng Yingying (1994–), specialized in palaeoclimatic simulations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Feng, Y., Yang, X. Moisture sources of the Alashan Sand Seas in western Inner Mongolia, China during the Last Glacial Maximum and mid-Holocene. J. Geogr. Sci. 29, 2101–2121 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11442-019-1707-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Badain Jaran Desert
  • Tengger Desert
  • Ulan Buh Desert
  • Asian summer monsoon
  • westerlies
  • paleoclimate