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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: The large variety of atmospheric circulation systems affecting the eastern Asian climate is reflected by the complex Asian vegetation distribution. Particularly in the transition zones of these circulation systems, vegetation is supposed to be very sensitive to climate change. Since proxy records are scarce, hitherto a mechanistic understanding of the past spatio-temporal climate–vegetation relationship is lacking. To assess the Holocene vegetation change and to obtain an ensemble of potential mid-Holocene biome distributions for eastern Asia, we forced the diagnostic biome model BIOME4 with climate anomalies of different transient Holocene climate simulations performed in coupled atmosphere–ocean(–vegetation) models. The simulated biome changes are compared with pollen-based biome records for different key regions. In all simulations, substantial biome shifts during the last 6000 years are confined to the high northern latitudes and the monsoon–westerly wind transition zone, but the temporal evolution and amplitude of change strongly depend on the climate forcing. Large parts of the southern tundra are replaced by taiga during the mid-Holocene due to a warmer growing season and the boreal treeline in northern Asia is shifted northward by approx. 4° in the ensemble mean, ranging from 1.5 to 6° in the individual simulations, respectively. This simulated treeline shift is in agreement with pollen-based reconstructions from northern Siberia. The desert fraction in the transition zone is reduced by 21 % during the mid-Holocene compared to pre-industrial due to enhanced precipitation. The desert–steppe margin is shifted westward by 5° (1–9° in the individual simulations). The forest biomes are expanded north-westward by 2°, ranging from 0 to 4° in the single simulations. These results corroborate pollen-based reconstructions indicating an extended forest area in north-central China during the mid-Holocene. According to the model, the forest-to-non-forest and steppe-to-desert changes in the climate transition zones are spatially not uniform and not linear since the mid-Holocene.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2015-12-14
    Description: The recently proposed global monsoon hypothesis interprets monsoon systems as part of one global-scale atmospheric overturning circulation, implying a connection between the regional monsoon systems and an in-phase behaviour of all northern hemispheric monsoons on annual timescales (Trenberth et al., 2000). Whether this concept can be applied to past climates and variability on longer timescales is still under debate, because the monsoon systems exhibit different regional characteristics such as different seasonality (i.e. onset, peak and withdrawal). To investigate the interconnection of different monsoon systems during the pre-industrial Holocene, five transient global climate model simulations have been analysed with respect to the rainfall trend and variability in different sub-domains of the Afro-Asian monsoon region. Our analysis suggests that on millennial timescales with varying orbital forcing, the monsoons do not behave as a tightly connected global system. According to the models, the Indian and North African monsoons are coupled, showing similar rainfall trend and moderate correlation in centennial rainfall variability in all models. The East Asian monsoon changes independently during the Holocene. The dissimilarities in the seasonality of the monsoon sub-systems lead to a stronger response of the North African and Indian monsoon systems to the Holocene insolation forcing than of the East Asian monsoon and affect the seasonal distribution of Holocene rainfall variations. Within the Indian and North African monsoon domain, precipitation solely changes during the summer months, showing a decreasing Holocene precipitation trend. In the East Asian monsoon region, the precipitation signal is determined by an increasing precipitation trend during spring and a decreasing precipitation change during summer, partly balancing each other. A synthesis of reconstructions and the model results do not reveal an impact of the different seasonality on the timing of the Holocene rainfall optimum in the different sub-monsoon systems. Rather they indicate locally inhomogeneous rainfall changes and show that single palaeo-records should not be used to characterise the rainfall change and monsoon evolution for entire monsoon sub-systems.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2014-09-17
    Description: Use of automated image analysis to detect changes in megafaunal densities at HAUSGARTEN (79°N west off Svalbard) between 2002 and 2004High latitudes are amongst the most sensitive ecosystems with respect to climate change, which prompted the launch of the first and only deep-sea long-term observatory beyond the polar circle, HAUSGARTEN (eastern Fram Strait), in 1999. An understanding of the abundance and spatial distribution of organisms is vital to assess the effects of global change. To map the distribution of megafaunal organisms deep-sea research relies strongly on the use of high-resolution cameras that are fitted to towed sledges, drop-down frames and remotely operated or autonomous underwater vehicles. Inevitably, such techniques generate large quantities of footage. The visual analysis of images is labour-intensive, time-consuming and subjective. Over recent years, the increase in computer power has facilitated advances to automate image analysis. Here, we present a novel approach for the automatic detection and classification of particular biological classes within image data. For this purpose, we applied machine-learning algorithms to two photographic transects from the HAUSGARTEN central station (2500m) taken by an ocean floor observation system in 2002 and 2004. Each transect contains some 700 photographs. The main goal is the automatic identification of important biological classes (e.g. sea cucumbers, sea lilies) to assess the densities of the most frequent organisms over time. So far, our system shows a promising performance in detecting sea cucumbers and sea lilies with sensitivities and positive predictive values between 75 - 80%.Results from manual analysis of 66 images taken at the central part of the transect indicate a significant decline in the mean density of sea cucumbers (Elpidia glacialis), sea lilies (Bathycrinus cf. carpenteri), burrow entrances and total megafaunal densities from 2002 to 2004 which concurs with a decrease in sea ice coverage, particulate flux to the sea floor, sediment-bound nutrients and pigments, microbial biomass and changes in meiofaunal community structure. Results from automated image analysis will increase the spatial resolution and statistical power of our analyses as it enables us to process larger quantities of images.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Conference , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2014-04-17
    Description: Organic geochemical proxy data from surface sediment samples and a sediment core from Lake Donggi Cona were used to infer environmental changes on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau spanning the last 18.4 kyr. Long-chain n-alkanes dominate the aliphatic hydrocarbon fraction of the sediment extract from most surface sediment samples and the sediment core. Unsaturated mid-chain n-alkanes (nC23:1 and nC25:1) have high abundances in some samples, especially in core samples from the late glacial and early Holocene. TOC contents, organic biomarker and non-pollen-palynomorph concentrations and results from organic petrologic analysis on selected samples suggest three major episodes in the history of Lake Donggi Cona. Before ca. 12.6 cal ka BP samples contain low amounts of organic matter due to cold and arid conditions during the late glacial. After 12.6 cal ka BP, relatively high contents of TOC and concentrations of Botryococcus fossils, as well as enhanced concentrations of mid-chain n-alkanes and n-alkenes suggest a higher primary and macrophyte productivity than at present. This is supported by high contents of palynomorphs derived from higher plants and algae and was possibly triggered by a decrease of salinity and amelioration of climate during the early Holocene. Since 6.8 cal ka BP Lake Donggi Cona has been an oligotrophic freshwater lake. Proxy data suggest that variations in insolation drive ecological changes in the lake, with increased aquatic productivity during the early Holocene summer insolation maximum. Short-term drops of TOC contents or biomarker concentrations (at 9.9 cal ka BP, after 8.0 and between 3.5 and 1.7 cal ka BP) can possibly be related to relatively cool and dry episodes reported from other sites on the north-eastern Tibetan Plateau, which are hypothesized to occur in phase with Northern Hemisphere cooling events.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-06-13
    Description: This study provides a detailed analysis of the mid-Holocene to present-day precipitation change in the Asian monsoon region. We compare for the first time results of high resolution climate model simulations with a standardised set of mid-Holocene moisture reconstructions. Changes in the simulated summer monsoon characteristics (onset, withdrawal, length and associated rainfall) and the mechanisms causing the Holocene precipitation changes are investigated. According to the model, most parts of the Indian subcontinent received more precipitation (up to 5 mm/day) at mid-Holocene than at present-day. This is related to a stronger Indian summer monsoon accompanied by an intensified vertically integrated moisture flux convergence. The East Asian monsoon region exhibits local inhomogeneities in the simulated annual precipitation signal. The sign of this signal depends on the balance of decreased pre-monsoon and increased monsoon precipitation at mid-Holocene compared to present-day. Hence, rainfall changes in the East Asian monsoon domain are not solely associated with modifications in the summer monsoon circulation but also depend on changes in the mid-latitudinal westerly wind system that dominates the circulation during the pre-monsoon season. The proxy-based climate reconstructions confirm the regional dissimilarities in the annual precipitation signal and agree well with the model results. Our results highlight the importance of including the pre-monsoon season in climate studies of the Asian monsoon system and point out the complex response of this system to the Holocene insolation forcing. The comparison with a coarse climate model simulation reveals that this complex response can only be resolved in high resolution simulations.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2016-10-28
    Description: We present a calibration-set based on modern pollen and satellite-based Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) observations of woody cover (including needleleaved, broadleaved and total tree cover) in eastern continental Asia, which shows good performance under cross-validation with the modern analogue technique (all the coefficients of determination between observed and predicted values are greater than 0.65). The calibration-set is used to reconstruct woody cover from a taxonomically harmonized and temporally standardized fossil pollen dataset (including 274 cores) with 500-year resolution over the last 22 kyr. The spatial range of forest has not noticeably changed in eastern continental Asia during the last 22 kyr, although woody cover has, especially at the margin of the eastern Tibetan Plateau and in the forest-steppe transition area of north-central China. Vegetation was sparse during the LGM in the present forested regions, but woody cover increased markedly at the beginning of the Bølling/Allerød period (B/A; ca. 14.5 ka bp) and again at the beginning of the Holocene (ca. 11.5 ka bp), and is related to the enhanced strength of the East Asian Summer Monsoon. Forest flourished in the mid-Holocene (ca. 8 ka bp) possibly due to favourable climatic conditions. In contrast, cover was stable in southern China (high cover) and arid central Asia (very low cover) throughout the investigated period. Forest cover increased in the north-eastern part of China during the Holocene. Comparisons of these regional pollen-based results with simulated forest cover from runs of a global climate model (for 9, 6 and 0 ka bp (ECHAM5/JSBACH ∼1.125° spatial resolution)) reveal many similarities in temporal change. The Holocene woody cover history of eastern continental Asia is different from that of other regions, likely controlled by different climatic variables, i.e. moisture in eastern continental Asia; temperature in northern Eurasia and North America.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 7
  • 8
    Publication Date: 2017-03-06
    Description: The large variety of atmospheric circulation systems affecting the eastern Asian climate is reflected by the complex Asian vegetation distribution. Particularly in the transition zones of these circulation systems, vegetation is supposed to be very sensitive to climate change. Since proxy records are scarce, hitherto a mechanistic understanding of the past spatio-temporal climate–vegetation relationship is lacking. To assess the Holocene vegetation change and to obtain an ensemble of potential mid-Holocene biome distributions for eastern Asia, we forced the diagnostic biome model BIOME4 with climate anomalies of different transient Holocene climate simulations performed in coupled atmosphere–ocean(–vegetation) models. The simulated biome changes are compared with pollen-based biome records for different key regions. In all simulations, substantial biome shifts during the last 6000 years are confined to the high northern latitudes and the monsoon–westerly wind transition zone, but the temporal evolution and amplitude of change strongly depend on the climate forcing. Large parts of the southern tundra are replaced by taiga during the mid-Holocene due to a warmer growing season and the boreal treeline in northern Asia is shifted northward by approx. 4° in the ensemble mean, ranging from 1.5 to 6° in the individual simulations, respectively. This simulated treeline shift is in agreement with pollenbased reconstructions from northern Siberia. The desert fraction in the transition zone is reduced by 21% during the mid- Holocene compared to pre-industrial due to enhanced precipitation. The desert–steppe margin is shifted westward by 5° (1–9° in the individual simulations). The forest biomes are expanded north-westward by 2°, ranging from 0 to 4° in the single simulations. These results corroborate pollen-based reconstructions indicating an extended forest area in northcentral China during the mid-Holocene. According to the model, the forest-to-non-forest and steppe-to-desert changes in the climate transition zones are spatially not uniform and not linear since the mid-Holocene.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2017-06-13
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2016-10-22
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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