Manganese (Mn) in lake sediments reacts strongly to changes of redox conditions. This study analyzed Mn concentrations in oxides, carbonates, and bulk phases of the calcareous lacustrine sediments of a 938.5-m-long core (SG-1) taken from the western Qaidam Basin, well dated from 2.77 Ma to 0.1 Ma. Comparisons of extractions from diluted hydrochloric acid, acetic acid and citrate"bicarbonate"dithionite demonstrate that variations of Mn concentrations from acetic acid leaching (MnHOAc) are mostly responsible for Mn (II) fluctuations in the carbonate phase. Taking into account the relevant processes during weathering, transportation, deposition and post-deposition of Mn-bearing rocks, we conclude that Mn input from catchment weathering and paleolake redox condition provide the primary controls on variations in the Mn records of carbonate and oxide phases. We propose MnHOAc as a new sensitive indicator of paleolake redox evolution and catchment-scale climate change. The MnHOAc variations show a long-term upward decreasing trend, indicating a long-term decrease of Mn input from catchment weathering associated with increasing oxygen content in the paleolake bottom water. The great similarities of the MnHOAc record with other regional and global records suggest that paleolake redox changes and climatic drying in the Qaidam Basin may be largely related to global cooling.