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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2016 / Evidence of a Cooler Continental Climate in East China during the Warm Early Cenozoic

Qian-Qian Zhang, Thierry Smith, Jian Yang and Chang-Sen Li (2016)

Evidence of a Cooler Continental Climate in East China during the Warm Early Cenozoic

PloS One, 11(5):e0155507 (17 pages).

The early Cenozoic was characterized by a very warm climate especially during the Early Eocene. To understand climatic changes in eastern Asia, we reconstructed the Early Eocene vegetation and climate based on palynological data of a borehole from Wutu coal mine, East China and evaluated the climatic differences between eastern Asia and Central Europe. The Wutu palynological assemblages indicated a warm temperate vegetation succession comprising mixed needle- and broad-leaved forests. Three periods of vegetation succession over time were recognized. The changes of palynomorph relative abundance indicated that period 1 was warm and humid, period 2 was relatively warmer and wetter, and period 3 was cooler and drier again. The climatic parameters estimated by the coexistence approach (CA) suggested that the Early Eocene climate in Wutu was warmer and wetter. Mean annual temperature (MAT) was approximately 16°C and mean annual precipitation (MAP) was 800–1400 mm. Comparison of the Early Eocene climatic parameters of Wutu with those of 39 other fossil floras of different age in East China, reveals that 1) the climate became gradually cooler during the last 65 million years, with MAT dropping by 9.3°C. This cooling trend coincided with the ocean temperature changes but with weaker amplitude; 2) the Early Eocene climate was cooler in East China than in Central Europe; 3) the cooling trend in East China (MAT dropped by 6.9°C) was gentler than in Central Europe (MAT dropped by 13°C) during the last 45 million years.
Peer Review, International Redaction Board, Impact Factor, Open Access
Paleontology
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