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Hydrological and Climatic Changes in Deserts of China since the Late Pleistocene

  • Xiaoping Yang (a1) and Louis A. Scuderi (a2)

Large areas in western China were wetlands or less arid between 40 and 30 ka, corresponding to the “Greatest Lake Period” on the adjacent Tibetan Plateau. During the last glacial maximum, some of these western Chinese deserts again experienced wetter conditions; however, at the same time the sandy lands in the eastern Chinese desert belt experienced an activation of aeolian dunes. While interpretations of the mid-Holocene environment in the deserts of China are controversial, it is quite likely that it was more humid not only in the eastern areas influenced by monsoon climate systems but also in the western deserts where moisture is currently associated with westerlies. Evaluation of lacustrine records in the lakes recharged by dryland rivers and the complex interactions of these systems, as well as other paleoenvironmental proxies such as the Artemisia/Chenopodiaceae ratio, should be interpreted with greater caution. Facing the highlighted uncertainties in our understanding of climate changes in Chinese deserts, it is hoped that this special issue will improve our knowledge considerably.

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*Corresponding author. E-mail address: (X. Yang), (L.A. Scuderi).
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Quaternary Research
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