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Estimates of Holocene Precipitation for Rajasthan, India, Based on Pollen and Lake-Level Data

  • A. M. Swain (a1), J. E. Kutzbach (a1) (a2) and S. Hastenrath (a2)

A pollen profile obtained from lake sediments at Lunkaransar, Rajasthan, in northwest India was used along with a pollen-climate calibration function to estimate past precipitation. Between 10,500 and 3500 yr B.P., the estimated precipitation was about 500 mm/yr, or about 200 mm/yr above the modern value. A model was used for the energy and hydrologic budget of a lake basin and lake at Sambhar (located 240 km SE of Lunkaransar) to calculate that a 200 mm/yr increase in rainfall above the modern amount would have raised the lake level about 20 m above the modern level. Topographic charts and satellite imagery provided some evidence in support of an enlarged paleolake of that elevation, but field exploration would be required to confirm the size and date of a former lake. After about 3500 yr B.P., the Lunkaransar profile indicated a desiccated lake bed; because no pollen was preserved, the pollen-climate calibration function was of no use for estimating the amount of the precipitation decline. A reduction of precipitation of about 200 mm/yr below the modern amount was estimated from the energy and hydrologic budget for paleolake Sambhar by assuming that the lake was one-tenth of its present size during the dry interval.

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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
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