Sedimentological, geochemical and palynological data from Wulungu Lake in northern Xinjiang, China, are used to reconstruct environmental and climate changes since 9550 cal yr BP. High abundance of Sparganium and Poaceae, low Md (median diameter) and δ13Corganic values indicate aridity between 9550 and 6730 cal yr BP. High Md and δ13Corganic values, and the prevalence of desert-steppe and steppe vegetation between 4200 and 560 cal yr BP, indicate that effective moisture increased after 6730 cal yr BP, peaking at 4200 and 560 cal yr BP. Low Md values, a negative excursion of δ13Corg, and the transition from steppe to desert vegetation since 560 cal yr BP reflect a decrease in effective moisture during the latest Holocene. Late Holocene human activities were indicated by sharp increase in the abundance of Pediastrum then. Variations in carbonate contents indicate that temperature was generally high between 9550 and 7740 cal yr BP, low between 7740 and 6730 cal yr BP, intermediate between 6730 and 560 cal yr BP, and low during the last 560 yr. Regional comparison indicates that the Asian monsoon did not extend to Wulungu Lake and westerlies were the main factor in determining the moisture availability during the Holocene.