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The Eocene climate of China, the early elevation of the Tibetan Plateau and the onset of the Asian Monsoon

Authors

  • Qing Wang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    2. Beijing Radiation Center, Beijing, China
    3. College of Life Sciences, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian, China
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  • Robert A. Spicer,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    2. Department of Earth Sciences, Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
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  • Jian Yang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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  • Yu-Fei Wang,

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    • Correspondence: Yufei Wang, tel. +86 10 6283 6439, fax +86 10 6259 3385, e-mail: wangyf@ibcas.ac.cn; Chengsen Li, tel. +86 10 6283 6436, fax +86 10 6259 3385, e-mail: lics@ibcas.ac.cn

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  • Cheng-Sen Li

    1. State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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Abstract

Eocene palynological samples from 37 widely distributed sites across China were analysed using co-existence approach to determine trends in space and time for seven palaeoclimate variables: Mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation, mean temperature of the warmest month, mean temperature of the coldest month, mean annual range of temperature, mean maximum monthly precipitation and mean minimum monthly precipitation. Present day distributions and observed climates within China of the nearest living relatives of the fossil forms were used to find the range of a given variable in which a maximum number of taxa can coexist. Isotherm and isohyet maps for the early, middle and late Eocene were constructed. These illustrate regional changing patterns in thermal and precipitational gradients that may be interpreted as the beginnings of the modern Asian Monsoon system, and suggest that the uplift of parts of the Tibetan Plateau appear to have taken place by the middle to late Eocene.

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