Quantitative woody cover reconstructions from eastern continental Asia of the last 22 kyr reveal strong regional peculiarities

Fang.Tian [ at ] awi.de


We present a calibration-set based on modern pollen and satellite-based Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) observations of woody cover (including needleleaved, broadleaved and total tree cover) in eastern continental Asia, which shows good performance under cross-validation with the modern analogue technique (all the coefficients of determination between observed and predicted values are greater than 0.65). The calibration-set is used to reconstruct woody cover from a taxonomically harmonized and temporally standardized fossil pollen dataset (including 274 cores) with 500-year resolution over the last 22 kyr. The spatial range of forest has not noticeably changed in eastern continental Asia during the last 22 kyr, although woody cover has, especially at the margin of the eastern Tibetan Plateau and in the forest-steppe transition area of north-central China. Vegetation was sparse during the LGM in the present forested regions, but woody cover increased markedly at the beginning of the Bølling/Allerød period (B/A; ca. 14.5 ka bp) and again at the beginning of the Holocene (ca. 11.5 ka bp), and is related to the enhanced strength of the East Asian Summer Monsoon. Forest flourished in the mid-Holocene (ca. 8 ka bp) possibly due to favourable climatic conditions. In contrast, cover was stable in southern China (high cover) and arid central Asia (very low cover) throughout the investigated period. Forest cover increased in the north-eastern part of China during the Holocene. Comparisons of these regional pollen-based results with simulated forest cover from runs of a global climate model (for 9, 6 and 0 ka bp (ECHAM5/JSBACH ∼1.125° spatial resolution)) reveal many similarities in temporal change. The Holocene woody cover history of eastern continental Asia is different from that of other regions, likely controlled by different climatic variables, i.e. moisture in eastern continental Asia; temperature in northern Eurasia and North America.

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DOI 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.02.001

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Tian, F. , Cao, X. , Dallmeyer, A. , Ni, J. , Zhao, Y. , Wang, Y. and Herzschuh, U. (2016): Quantitative woody cover reconstructions from eastern continental Asia of the last 22 kyr reveal strong regional peculiarities , Quaternary Science Reviews, 137 , pp. 33-44 . doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.02.001

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