11 May 2022
11 May 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

The patchwork loess of Central Asia: Implications for interpreting aeolian dynamics and past climate circulation in piedmont regions

Aditi Krishna Dave1,a, Lenka Lisa3, Giancarlo Scardia4, Saida Nigmatova5, and Kathryn Elizabeth Fitzsimmons1,2 Aditi Krishna Dave et al.
  • 1Research Group for Terrestrial Palaeoclimates, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 2Department of Geosciences, University of Tübingen, Schnarrenbergstrasse 94-96, 72076 Tübingen
  • 3Institute of Geology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 4Instituto de Geociências e Ciências Exatas, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), 13506-900 Rio Claro SP, Brazil
  • 5Institute of Geological Sciences K. Satpaeva, Ministry for Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • apresent address: Department of Geosciences, University of Tübingen, Schnarrenbergstrasse 94-96, 72076 Tübingen

Abstract. Reconstruction of mass accumulation rates (MARs) in loess deposits are widely used for interpreting long-term aeolian transport and climate dynamics in terrestrial environments. However, these interpretations are often driven by preponderance of reconstructions from individual or selected sites, which can bias our understanding of past climate, especially in the absence of other proxy information. Recent studies on MARs from multiple loess sites in Arid Central Asia (ACA) reveal disparities in the timing of peaks in accumulation between sites, as well as asynchronies with loess flux in the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP). We investigate this issue by (1) dating five new sites from the western Ili Basin, therefore extending the spatial cover of loess chronologies across ACA and (2) combining that with MARs from >30 sites across ACA and the CLP over the last 60 ka. Our results indicate spatio-temporal inhomogeneity in the timing and rate of loess deposition across the ACA, and highlight the importance of interrogating local and regional influences on dust supply and transport. Our synthesis of MAR’s from ACA and CLP suggests that the timing of peak dust flux as an indicator of large-scale climate dynamics is best derived from an aggregate of sites; this removes site-specific bias where local processes or topographic setting outweigh the climate signature.

Aditi Krishna Dave et al.

Status: open

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Aditi Krishna Dave et al.

Aditi Krishna Dave et al.


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Short summary
Mass accumulation rates (MAR’s) from wind blown dust (loess) archives are one of the primary tools to gauge past climate conditions in a region. However, many of these reconstructions are based on individual loess sites, which may not be representative of the regional climate. This study investigates the relationship between loess MAR’s and climate, in the context of topography, sediment availability and supply and past circulation in Central and East Asia.