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During the last glacial termination, a warming trend was generally interrupted by rapid millennium-scale cold reversals, such as the Greenland (Isotope) Stadial 1 (GS-1) and GS-2a events. To understand how glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) responded to these rapid climate events, this study constrained the timing and extent of three glacial events during the late-glacial period. Specifically, using a cosmogenic 10Be exposure dating method, we dated three prominent glacial moraines (PM1, PM2, PM3) back to 15,850 ± 980, 14,140 ± 880, and 12,430 ± 790 yr in the Pagele valley, southern TP, corresponding to GS-2a, Greenland Interstadial 1 (GI-1), and GS-1, respectively. By simulating glacial extents forced by different climate scenarios, the study constrained the temperature decreases relative to present to be 2.6°C–2.9°C, ~1.6°C, and 1.4°C–1.5°C during the GS-2a, GI-1, and GS-1 periods in the region, with precipitation values of 60%–80%, ~100%, and 80%–90% of present value, respectively. Considering information from oceanic and atmospheric circulation, the study suggested that on the TP, the glacial events during the last glacial termination were well connected with the millennium-scale climate events in the North Atlantic region through the westerlies, while the Indian summer monsoon played a positive role in sustaining the glaciers under the warming climate trend.
Improvements in understanding glacial extents and chronologies for the southeastern slope of the western Nyaiqentanglha Shan on the Tibetan Plateau are required to understand regional climate changes during the Last Glacial cycle. A two-dimensional numerical model of mass balance, based on snow–ice melting factors, and of ice flow for mountain glaciers is used to assess the glacier sensitivity to climatic change in a catchment of the region. The model can reproduce valley glaciers, wide-tongued glaciers and a coalescing glacier within step temperature lowering and precipitation increasing experiments. The model sensitivity experiments also indicate that the dependence of glacier growth on temperature and/or precipitation is nonlinear. The model results suggest that the valley glaciers respond more sensitively to an imposed climate change than wide-tongued and coalescing glaciers. Guided by field geological evidence of former glacier extent and other independent paleoclimate reconstructions, the model is also used to constrain the most realistic multi-year mean temperatures to be 2.9–4.6°C and 1.8–2.5°C lower than present in the glacial stages of the Last Glacial Maximum and middle marine oxygen isotope stage 3, respectively.
Exposure age dating using in situ10Be and 26Al is a very useful technique for dating fluvial terraces. This is especially true in semiarid regions where other methods suffer from a paucity of suitable dating materials. This article describes sample preparation procedures and analytical benchmarks established at the Xi’an Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) Center for the study of in situ10Be and 26Al. Four intercomparison samples were analyzed in the study, using an improved sample preparation method. The exposure age results are shown to be in good agreement with published data, and demonstrate the reliability of the dating method. This article also presents new 10Be and 26Al results from quartz samples collected from a series of fluvial terraces from Guanshan River, along the Qilian Shan, northeastern Tibetan Plateau. The ages of three fluvial terraces from the Jinfosi site are shown to be (56.4±5.3) ka for T3, (10.7±1.0) ka for T2, and (7.2±1.0) ka for T1. The dating results are consistent with published data from the same region (10Be, 14C, and optically stimulated luminescence dating methods). A comparison of high-resolution climate records with age constraints for the terrace formation shows a close relationship between terrace formation and climate change.
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