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Zhou X.,CAS Institute of Earth Environment | Sun L.,CAS Institute of Earth Environment | Zhan T.,Second Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology Prospecting Institute of Heilongjiang Province | Huang W.,CAS Institute of Earth Environment | And 14 more authors.
Earth and Planetary Science Letters | Year: 2016

The East Asian summer monsoon affects precipitation and hence vegetation in the densely populated Northwest Pacific region, yet a long-standing controversy exists concerning the spatial and temporal dynamics of the Holocene Optimum (HO) in the East Asian Monsoon Region. Here we use a detailed 14,000-year record reconstructing vegetation variations from a strategically selected crater lake from Northeast China, as well as a compilation of previous paleoclimatic studies, to show that the HO began around 6,000 Cal a BP in Northeast China, significantly later than generally recognized. By comparing our paleoenvironmental data with Holocene vegetation records from other regions of East Asia, we identified a marked northward shift for the onset of the HO from ∼10,260 Cal a BP in South China to ∼6,000 Cal a BP in Northeast China. The gradual northward transgression of the vegetation change could be caused by both the temperature and precipitation changes in different regions. Finally, we fitted a regression model of the start of the HO period versus latitude, which allowed us to make predictions for the beginning of the HO at different geographical locations. This study reveals a strong relationship between latitude and the initiation of the HO, and provides a window towards better understanding the forcing of vegetation changes in the East Asian monsoon region. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

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