Holocene climate changes in the monsoon/arid transition reflected by carbon concentration in Daihai Lake of Inner Mongolia

Jule Xiao*, Jintao Wu, Bin Si, Wendong Liang, Toshio Nakamura, Baolin Liu, Yoshio Inouchi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Citations (Scopus)


Two sediment cores recovered in the central part of Daihai Lake in north-central China were analysed at 2- to 4-cm intervals for total inorganic and organic carbon (TIC and TOC) concentrations. The TIC concentration is inferred to reflect temperatures over the lake region and an increase in the TIC concentration implies an increase in the temperature. TOC concentration is considered to reflect the precipitation in the lake basin and higher TOC concentrations denote more precipitations. Thus AMS 14C time series of the TIC and TOC records of Daihai Lake sediments uncovers a detailed history of changes in temperature and precipitation in north-central China during the last c. 12 000 yr. The Holocene, an epoch of postglacial warmth, started c. 11 500 cal. yr BP, and can be subdivided into three stages: the early (c. 11 500-8100 cal. yr BP), middle (c. 8100-3300 cal. yr BP) and the late Holocene (c. 3300-0 cal. yr BP). The climate was warm and dry during the early Holocene, warm and wet during the middle Holocene, and in the late Holocene became cooler and drier but displayed a relatively warmer and wetter interval between c. 1700 and 1300 cal. yr BP. The Holocene Climatic Optimum, defined as a postglacial episode of both megathermal and megahumid climate, might have occurred in north-central China between c. 8100 and 3300 cal. yr BP, and the climate during this period was variable and punctuated by cool and/or dry events. We infer that changes in the temperature were directly controlled by changes in summer solar radiation in the Northern Hemisphere resulting from progressive changes in the Earth's orbital parameters. Whereas an increase in the monsoonal precipitation could be closely related to an increase in the sea surface temperature of the low-latitude Pacific Ocean, an increase in the temperature and size of the Western Pacific Warm Pool and a westward shifted and strengthened Kuroshio Current in the western Pacific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-560
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon concentrations
  • Daihai Lake
  • Holocene
  • Inner Mongolia
  • Monsoon/arid transition
  • Precipitation
  • Sediment cores
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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