Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2022, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (2): 195-213.doi: 10.1007/s11442-022-1942-4

• Special Issue: Climate Change and Its Regional Response •     Next Articles

Three modes of climate change since the Last Glacial Maximum in arid and semi-arid regions of the Asian continent

ZHANG Yuxin(), LI Yu()   

  1. Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Center for Hydrologic Cycle and Water Resources in Arid Region, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2021-04-02 Accepted:2021-11-15 Online:2022-02-25 Published:2022-04-25
  • Contact: LI Yu;
  • About author:Zhang Yuxin (1996-), specialized in paleoclimatic change. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    The National Natural Science Foundation of China(42077415);The National Natural Science Foundation of China(41822708);The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program(STEP);The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program(2019QZKK0202);The National Key Research and Development Program of China(2019YFC0507401);The Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA20100102);The 111 Project(BP0618001)


The westerly winds and East Asian summer monsoon play a leading role in climate change of southwestern North America and eastern Asia since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), respectively. Their convergence in arid and semi-arid regions of the Asian continent (AAC) makes the regional climate change more complicated on the millennial-scale. There are still limitations in applying paleoclimate records and climate simulations of characteristic periods to investigate climate change patterns since the LGM in this region. In this study, we adopt two indexes indicating effective moisture and rely on a continuous simulation, a time slice simulation, and numerous paleoclimate records to comprehensively investigate the climate change modes and their driving mechanisms since the LGM in AAC. Results demonstrate a millennial-scale climate differentiation phenomenon and three climate change modes possibly occurring in AAC since the LGM. The western AAC largely controlled by the westerly winds is featured as wet climates during the LGM but relatively dry climates during the mid-Holocene (MH), coinciding with the climate change mode in southwestern North America. Conversely, dry conditions during the LGM and relatively wet conditions during the MH are reflected in eastern AAC governed by the East Asian summer monsoon, which leans to the climate change mode in eastern Asia. If climate change in central AAC is forced by the interaction of two circulations, it expresses wet conditions in both the LGM and MH, tending to a combination of the southwestern North American and eastern Asian modes. Precipitation and evaporation exert different intensities in influencing three climate modes of different periods. Furthermore, we identify the significant driving effects of greenhouse gases and ice sheets on westerly-dominated zones of AAC, while orbit-driven insolation on monsoon-dominated zones of AAC.

Key words: arid and semi-arid regions, Asian continent, climate change mode, Last Glacial Maximum, paleoclimate simulation