DH99a sediment core recovered at the center of Daihai Lake in north-central China was analyzed at 4-cm intervals for pollen assemblage and concentration. The pollen record spanning the last ca 10,000 yr revealed a detailed history of vegetation and climate changes over the Daihai Lake region during the Holocene. From ca 10,250 to 7900 cal yr BP, arid herbs and shrubs dominated the lake basin in company with patches of mixed pine and broadleaved forests, indicating a mild and dry climatic condition. Over this period, the woody plants displayed an increasing trend, which may suggest a gradual increase in warmth and humidity. The period between ca 7900 and 4450 cal yr BP exhibits large-scale covers of mixed coniferous and broadleaved forests, marking a warm and humid climate. Changes in the composition of the forests indicate that both temperature and precipitation displayed obvious fluctuations during this period, i.e., cool and humid ca 7900-7250 cal yr BP, warm and slightly humid ca 7250-6050 cal yr BP, warm and humid between ca 6050 and 5100 cal yr BP, mild and slightly humid ca 5100-4800 cal yr BP, and mild and humid ca 4800-4450 cal yr BP. The period can be viewed as the Holocene optimum (characterized by a warm and moist climate) of north-central China, with the maximum (dominated both by warmest temperatures and by richest precipitations) occurring from ca 6050 to 5100 cal yr BP. During the period of ca 4450-2900 cal yr BP, the woody plants declined, and the climate generally became cooler and drier than the preceding period. This period is characterized by a cold, dry episode from ca 4450 to 3950 cal yr BP, a warm, slightly humid interval between ca 3950 and 3500 cal yr BP and a mild, slightly dry episode from ca 3500 to 2900 cal yr BP, and appears to be a transition from warm and humid to cold and dry climatic conditions. Since ca 2900 cal yr ago, the forests disappeared and the vegetation density decreased, reflecting a cool and dry climate. However, a relative recovery of the woody plants occurring between ca 1700 and 1350 cal yr BP may denote an increase both in temperature and in precipitation. Fluctuations in the climatic condition of the Daihai Lake region were not only related to changes in the seasonal distribution of solar insolation and in the axis and intensity of the ocean current in the western North Pacific but were also closely linked to variations in the position and strength of polar high-pressure systems and in the pattern and intensity of the Westerly winds.
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