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Pollen- and Diatom-Inferred Climatic and Hydrological Changes in Sumxi Co Basin (Western Tibet) since 13,000 yr B.P.

  • Elise Van Campo (a1) and Francoise Gasse (a2)
Abstract

Although the Tibetan Plateau greatly influences the atmospheric circulation of the Nortbern Hemisphere, few continuous paleoclimatic records are available from the plateau. A 13,000-yr pollen and diatom record from the Sumxi-Longmu Co basin in western Tibet gives information on major changes both in regional vegetation and in local hydrology. After the basin first filled ca. 13,000 yr B.P., a dry spell occurred about 10,500 yr B.P. within the interval spanned by the European Younger Dryas chronozone. A major environmental change occurred suddenly at ≈10,000 yr B.P., with the establishment of wet conditions, and was followed by a long-term trend toward maximum aridity, which lasted approximately 6000 yr. Short-term oscillations are superimposed on this general climatic change with a major reversal event about 8000 yr B.P. and a second wet pulse leading to a maximum lake volume ca. 7500-6000 yr B.P. Maximum aridity occurred 4300 yr B.P. The major environmental fluctuations recorded at Sumxi-Longmu Co appear in phase with climatic changes recognized in north tropical Africa, suggesting that the 8000 to 7000-yr-B.P. event was caused by an abrupt disequilibrium in the climatic system, as was the Younger Dryas and possibly the 4300-yr-B.P. event.

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