Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2015, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (3): 301-310.doi: 10.1007/s11442-015-1169-8

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A preliminary quantitative reconstruction of precipitation in southern Mu Us sandy land at margin of Asian monsoon-dominated region during late Quaternary

Yingyong CHEN1(), Huayu LU1,*(), Shuangwen YI1, Enlou ZHANG2, Zhiwei XU1, Kaifeng YU1, A. MASON Joseph3   

  1. 1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University; Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Climate Change, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China
    3. Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin Madison, WI 53706, USA
  • Received:2013-12-12 Accepted:2014-06-17 Online:2015-03-15 Published:2015-03-15
  • Contact: Huayu LU;
  • About author:

    Author: Chen Yingyong, PhD, specialized in land surface process and environment change.

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41321062;No.41371203;The Global Changes Program of China, 2010CB950203;The Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, The Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, No.1082020904


We present the first quantitative estimation of monsoon precipitation during the late glacial-Holocene in the sandy land of northern China, based on organic carbon isotopic composition data from a loess-sand sequence at margin of the Mu Us sandy land. We use the relationship between monsoon precipitation and the carbon isotopic composition of modern soils as an analogue, with a minor modification, to reconstruct precipitation back to c. 47 ka ago. The preliminary results indicate that annual monsoon precipitation was high after 8 ka, with an average of 435 mm; and it decreased during 18 and 8 ka with a mean value of 194 mm. The precipitation value of 47-18 ka varied between the two. We compare the reconstructed precipitation with other records and paleoclimatic modeling results, showing that our record agrees with reconstructions of the monsoon precipitation from other sources, even capturing short climatic events such as the Younger Dryas. We suggest that solar irradiance, high-latitude temperature/ice volume and local evaporation have together modified moistures in the sandy land.

Key words: quantitative reconstruction, organic carbon isotopic composition, precipitation, Mu Us sandy land, Asian monsoon