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Dust variation recorded by lacustrine sediments from arid Central Asia since ~ 15 cal ka BP and its implication for atmospheric circulation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Cheng-Bang An*
Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), Lanzhou University, 730000 Lanzhou, China
Jiaju Zhao
Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), Lanzhou University, 730000 Lanzhou, China
Shichen Tao
Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), Lanzhou University, 730000 Lanzhou, China
Yanbin Lv
Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), Lanzhou University, 730000 Lanzhou, China
Weimiao Dong
Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), Lanzhou University, 730000 Lanzhou, China
Hu Li
Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), Lanzhou University, 730000 Lanzhou, China
Ming Jin
Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), Lanzhou University, 730000 Lanzhou, China
Zongli Wang
Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), Lanzhou University, 730000 Lanzhou, China
Corresponding author. Fax: +86 931 8912330.


A long dust history established using geological archives from dust provenance areas is necessary to understand the role of atmospheric dust in the global climate system better. Core sediments from a closed-basin groundwater-recharged lake in arid Central Asia were investigated using a multi-proxy approach (e.g. 14C AMS dating, pollen, and grain size) to trace the dust history since ~ 15 cal ka BP. Pollen analysis showed that before 7.9 cal ka BP, the vegetation was of desert type. After 7.9 cal ka BP, vegetation density increased, probably due to slightly increased moisture. The Chenopodiaceae-dominated desert expanded rapidly at 4.2–3.8 cal ka BP. Grain-size analysis was conducted for samples of lake deposits, modern aeolian dust, and dust trapped in snow, and the data showed that there was strong aeolian dust deposition at 11.8–11.1, 10.6–8, 6.1–4.9, and after 3.3 cal ka BP. This timing corresponds well with periods of increased terrestrial dust fluxes recorded by Greenland ice cores. Our study may document changes in the location and intensity of the Siberia High. These changes may play a more important role in the history of dust emission in arid Central Asia than previously thought.

Research Article
University of Washington

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