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Quaternary ecological responses and impacts of the Indian Ocean Summer Monsoon at Nam Co, Southern Tibetan Plateau
Günther, F.; Witt, R.; Schouten, S.; Mausbacher, R.; Daut, G.; Zhu, L.; Xu, B.Q.; Yao, T.; Gleixner, G. (2015). Quaternary ecological responses and impacts of the Indian Ocean Summer Monsoon at Nam Co, Southern Tibetan Plateau. Quat. Sci. Rev. 112: 66-77. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.01.023

Additional info:
In: Quaternary Science Reviews. Pergamon Press: Oxford; New York. ISSN 0277-3791, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Author keywords
    n-Alkanes; GDGTs; Hydrogen isotopes (dD); d15N; d13Corg; Indian Ocean Summer Monsoon (IOSM); Temperature; Precipitation; Time lag; Ecological thresholds

Authors  Top 
  • Günther, F.
  • Witt, R.
  • Schouten, S., more
  • Mausbacher, R.
  • Daut, G.
  • Zhu, L.
  • Xu, B.Q.
  • Yao, T.
  • Gleixner, G.

Abstract
    The transition from the Last Glacial to the current Interglacial, the Holocene, represents an important period with climatic and environmental changes impacting ecosystems. In this study, we examined the interplay between the Indian Ocean Summer Monsoon (IOSM) and the Westerlies at lake Nam Co, southern Tibet to understand the climatic effects on the ecosystem. Different organic geochemical proxies (n-alkanes, glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers, dD, d13Corg, d15N) are applied to reconstruct the environmental and hydrological changes on one of the longest available paleorecords at the Tibetan Plateau. Based on our paleohydrological dD proxies, the aquatic signal lags the terrestrial one due to specific ecological thresholds, which, in addition to climatic changes, can influence aquatic organisms. The aquatic organisms' response strongly depends on temperature and associated lake size, as well as pH and nutrient availability. Because the terrestrial vegetation reacts faster and more sensitively to changes in the monsoonal and climatic system, the dD of n-C29 and the reconstructed inflow water signal represent an appropriate IOSM proxy. In general, the interplay of the different air masses seems to be primarily controlled by solar insolation. In the Holocene, the high insolation generates a large land-ocean pressure gradient associated with strong monsoonal winds and the strongest IOSM. In the Last Glacial period, however, the weak insolation promoted the Westerlies, thereby increasing their influence at the Tibetan Plateau. Our results help to elucidate the variable IOSM, and they illustrate a remarkable shift in the lake system regarding pH, d13Corg and d15N from the Last Glacial to the Holocene interglacial period.

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