Clim. Past Discuss., 9, 1675-1701, 2013
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in CP.
Post-Pliocene establishment of the present monsoonal climate in SW China: evidence from the late Pliocene Longmen megaflora
T. Su1,3, F. M. B. Jacques1, R. A. Spicer4,5, Y.-S. Liu6, Y.-J. Huang2, Y.-W. Xing7, and Z.-K. Zhou1,2
1Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, 666303, China
2Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650204, China
3State Key Laboratory of Paleobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, 210008, China
4Environment, Earth and Ecosystems, Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK
5Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100093, China
6Department of Biological Sciences, P.O. Box 70703, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37614-1710, USA
7Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich, Zurich, 8008, Switzerland

Abstract. The paleoclimate of the late Pliocene Longmen flora from Yongping County located at the southeastern boundary of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau was reconstructed using two leaf physiognomy based methods, i.e. Leaf Margin Analysis (LMA) and Climate Leaf Analysis Multivariate Program (CLAMP), to understand the paleoclimate condition and geographical pattern of monsoonal climate in southwestern China during the late Pliocene. The mean annual temperatures (MATs) estimated by LMA and CLAMP are 17.4 ± 3.3 °C and 17.4 ± 1.3 °C, respectively, compared with 15.9 °C at present. Meanwhile, the growing season precipitation (GSP) estimated by CLAMP is 1735.5 ± 217.7 mm in the Longmen flora, compared with 986.9 mm nowadays. The calculated monsoon index (MSI) of the Longmen flora is significantly lower than that of today. These results appear consistent with previous studies based on the coexistence approach (CA), and further suggest that there was a slightly warmer and much wetter climate during the late Pliocene than the present climate in western Yunnan. We conclude that the significant change of the monsoonal climate might have been resulted from the continuous uplift of mountains in western Yunnan, as well as the intensification of eastern Asian winter monsoon, both occurring concurrently in the post-Pliocene period.

Citation: Su, T., Jacques, F. M. B., Spicer, R. A., Liu, Y.-S., Huang, Y.-J., Xing, Y.-W., and Zhou, Z.-K.: Post-Pliocene establishment of the present monsoonal climate in SW China: evidence from the late Pliocene Longmen megaflora, Clim. Past Discuss., 9, 1675-1701, doi:10.5194/cpd-9-1675-2013, 2013.
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