29 Mar 2021

29 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Lake surface-sediment pollen dataset for the alpine meadow vegetation type from the eastern Tibetan Plateau and its potential in past climate reconstructions

Xianyong Cao1,2, Fang Tian3, Kai Li4, Jian Ni4, Xiaoshan Yu1, Lina Liu1, and Nannan Wang1 Xianyong Cao et al.
  • 1Alpine Paleoecology and Human Adaptation Group (ALPHA), Key Laboratory of Alpine Ecology, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 2CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing 100101, China
  • 3Beijing Key Laboratory of Resource Environment and GIS, College of Resource Environment and Tourism, Capital Normal University, Beijing, 100048, China
  • 4College of Chemistry and Life Sciences, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua, 321004, China

Abstract. A modern pollen dataset with an even distribution of sites is essential for pollen-based past vegetation and climate estimations. As there were geographical gaps in previous datasets covering the central and eastern Tibetan Plateau, lake surface-sediment samples (n=117) were collected from the alpine meadow region on the Tibetan Plateau between elevations of 3720 and 5170 m a.s.l. Pollen identification and counting were based on standard approaches, and modern climate data were interpolated from a robust modern meteorological dataset. A series of numerical analyses revealed that precipitation is the main climatic determinant of pollen spatial distribution; Cyperaceae, Ranunculaceae, Rosaceae, and Salix indicate wet climatic conditions, while Poaceae, Artemisia, and Chenopodiaceae represent drought. Model performance of both weighted-averaging partial least squares (WA-PLS) and the random forest (RF) algorithm suggest that this modern pollen dataset has good predictive power in estimating the past precipitation for pollen spectra from the eastern Tibetan Plateau. In addition, a comprehensive modern pollen dataset can be established by combining our modern pollen dataset with previous datasets, which will be essential for the reconstruction of vegetation and climatic signals for fossil pollen sprecta on the Tibetan Plateau. Pollen datasets including both pollen counts and percentages for each sample together with their site location and climatic data are available at the National Tibetan Plateau Data Center (TPDC; DOI: 10.11888/Paleoenv.tpdc.271191).

Xianyong Cao et al.

Status: open (until 24 May 2021)

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Xianyong Cao et al.

Data sets

Lake sediment-surface pollen dataset for alpine meadow in eastern Tibetan Plateau CAO Xianyong, TIAN Fang, LI Kai, NI Jian

Xianyong Cao et al.


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Short summary
The Tibetan Plateau is quite remote, it is difficult to collect samples on it, hence the previous modern pollen data are located nearby road, and there is a large geographic gap in east and central Tibetan Plateau. Our novel pollen data can fill the gap and will be value to establish a complete dataset covering the entire Tibetan Plateau, and it can help us to get a comprehensive understanding. In addition, the dataset can also be used to investigate plant species distribution.