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Holocene precipitation records from Inner Mongolia derived from hydrogen isotope compositions of sediment fatty acids

  • Qingmin Chen (a1), Weijian Zhou (a2), Zhe Wang (a1), Feng Xian (a2) and George S Burr (a2)...

The Inner Mongolian Plateau lies along the northern limit reached by the East Asian summer monsoon. This geographic setting makes it especially sensitive to environmental change and an excellent site for understanding Quaternary East Asian monsoon variability. In this study we present new results of hydrogen isotopic compositions of fatty acids extracted from sediments, which were used to construct Holocene paleoprecipitation (or moisture) changes in Northern China. The hydrogen isotopic composition (D/H ratio) of n-acids in the sedimentary sequence of the Duoerji peat, Inner Mongolia, was determined with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Changes in the precipitation from middle Inner Mongolia are recorded by the D/H ratio of n-C20, n-C22, n-C24, n-C26, n-C28 acids (δD). From 10–9 ka, the relatively high δD values indicate reduced precipitation in the Early Holocene. Subsequently, increased precipitation is reflected by reduced δD values from 9–5.5 ka. After 5.5 ka, gradually increasing δD values record an overall decrease in precipitation. The precipitation trends established for the Duoerji sequence are consistent with other major paleoclimate proxies in the East Asian monsoon region, especially with a distinct Holocene optimum of increased monsoonal activity from 9–5.5 ka. The δD resulting paleo-precipitation record clearly shows that the Holocene climate in Northern China is basically controlled by the insolation changes.

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