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Holocene climate, dynamic landscapes and environmentally driven changes in human living conditions in Beijing

作 者:Xie G, Yao YF, Li JF, Yang J, Bai JD, Ferguson DK, Trivedi A, Li CS*, Wang YF*
影响因子: 7.491
刊物名称: Earth-Science Reviews
出版年份: 2019
卷: 191  期:    页码: 57-65

文章摘要 : 

The Holocene (11,500 cal a B.P. to the present) is marked by the beginning of the Neolithic Age and the origin of agriculture. Holocene climatic changes have certainly influenced vegetation successions and human living conditions. However, few studies have attempted to link the palaeo-ecological data with archaeological evidence to understand Holocene human-environmental interactions. Beijing, an early human settlement and the ancient and modern capital of China, is a hotspot for studying human activities and the development of civilization in Eastern Asia. The extensive literature on Holocene vegetation and climatic changes and the uninterrupted archaeological records from this region provide an excellent opportunity to explore how the climatic changes influenced the successions of vegetation and human living conditions since 12,000 cal a B.P. Here, we use Beijing as a case study and quantitatively reconstruct the Holocene climatic changes and the dynamic landscapes and human living conditions on the Beijing Plain based on compiled pollen data and archaeological literature. The results show that the mean annual temperature curve for Beijing during the early Holocene was similar to that of 90–30°N and has been the opposite since the middle to late Holocene. The mean annual precipitation curve is consistent with those from other monsoon regions in the Northern Hemisphere. The rising mean maximum monthly precipitation since 3330 cal a B.P. indicates the presence of more frequent rainstorms in summer, which suggests that the Beijing city government should prepare for more frequent heavy rainfalls and related geological disasters. In addition, the records from archaeological sites in Beijing show that human settlements first occurred in montane regions during the early Holocene before spreading into the plains during the middle Holocene. The warmer and wetter climate being suitable for farming probably drove this human migration. This study is an example of how to use past climatic data to understand current weather and the potential changes to human living environments that may occur under the current global warming trend.


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