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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2016-34
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2016-34
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 07 Apr 2016

Research article | 07 Apr 2016

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP). The revised manuscript was not accepted.

Late Pleistocene to Holocene climate and limnological changes at Lake Karakul (Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan)

Liv Heinecke1,2, Steffen Mischke3, Karsten Adler2, Anja Barth4, Boris K. Biskaborn1, Birgit Plessen5, Ingmar Nitze1, Gerhard Kuhn6, Ilhomjon Rajabov7, and Ulrike Herzschuh1,2 Liv Heinecke et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Research Unit Potsdam, Telegrafenberg A43, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany
  • 3Faculty of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, Sturlugata 7, Askja, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 4Institute of Geological Sciences, Free University of Berlin, Malteserstr. 74-100; 12249 Berlin, Germany
  • 5Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Sektion 5.2, Telegrafenberg C327, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 6Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Am Alten Hafen 26, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 7Pilot Program for Climate Resilience Secretariat, Shevchenko Street 47, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Abstract. Lake Karakul, located in the eastern Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan, is today dominated by the Westerlies. It is a matter of debate whether the Indian Monsoon influenced the region in the past. We analysed an 11.25 m sediment core covering the last 29,000 years to assess and separate lake-internal and lake-external processes, and to infer changes in the predominant atmospheric circulation. Among the parameters indicating lake-external processes, high values in grain-size end-member (EM) 3 (wide grain-size distribution, marking fluvial input) and Sr/Rb and Zr/Rb ratios (coinciding with coarse grain sizes, implying increased physical weathering) are interpreted as a strong monsoonal impact. High values in EM1, EM2 (peaking at small grain sizes reflecting Westerlies-derived dust) and TiO2 (terrigenous input) are assumed to reflect a strong influence of Westerlies. High input of far-transported dust from the pre-Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the late glacial reflects the Westerlies influence, while peaks in fluvial input suggest monsoonal influence. The early to early-mid Holocene is characterised by coarse mean grain sizes, increased physical weathering and constantly high fluvial input indicating a strengthened Indian Monsoon that reached further north into the Karakul region. A steady increase in terrigenous dust, decrease in fluvial input and physical weathering from 6.7 cal kyr BP onwards signals that Westerlies became the predominant atmospheric circulation and brought an arid climate to the region. Proxies for productivity (TOC, C/N, TOCBr), redox potential (Fe/Mn) and changes in the endogenic carbonate precipitation (TIC) indicate lake-internal changes. Low productivity characterised the lake from the late Pleistocene until 6.7 cal kyr BP and rapidly increased afterwards. The lake level remained low until the LGM, but water depth increased during the late glacial, reaching a high-stand during the early Holocene. Subsequently, the water level decreased until its present state. Today the lake system is mainly climatically controlled but the depositional regime is also driven by lake-internal limnogeological processes.

Liv Heinecke et al.
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Liv Heinecke et al.
Data sets

XRF-Core scanner data is stored in PANGAEA Heinecke, Liv; Herzschuh, Ulrike http://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.842725

Liv Heinecke et al.
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Short summary
The climate history of the Pamir Mountains (Tajikistan) during the last ~29 kyr was investigated using sediments from Lake Karakul as environmental archive. The inferred lake level was highest from the Late Glacial to the early Holocene and lake changes were mainly coupled to climate change. We conclude that the joint influence of Westerlies and Indian Monsoon during the early Holocene caused comparatively moist conditions, while dominating Westerlies yielded dry conditions since 6.7 cal kyr BP.
The climate history of the Pamir Mountains (Tajikistan) during the last ~29 kyr was investigated...
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