The nature of Holocene Asian summer monsoon (ASM) evolution documented by diverse natural archives remains controversial, with a contentious issue being whether or not a strong Asian summer monsoon prevailed during the early Holocene. Here we present sequences of multiple proxies measured in sediment cores from Genggahai Lake in the NE Tibetan Plateau (NETP). The results suggest that a higher lake level and relatively lower terrestrial vegetation cover occurred synchronously during the early Holocene (11.3–8.6 kyr cal BP), compared with the period from 8.6 to 6.9 kyr cal BP. This finding clearly reflects the existence of different hydroclimatic conditions between the lake and its catchment due to diverse driving mechanisms. The early Holocene high stand of the lake, as demonstrated by the stratigraphic variability of the remains of aquatic biota, may have responded to the strengthened ASM and increased monsoonal precipitation; the relatively low vegetation cover in the marginal region of the Asian monsoon during the early Holocene, and the coeval widespread active sand dune mobility in both the NE Tibetan Plateau and NE China, most likely resulted from a low level of effective moisture due to high evaporation, and hence they cannot be interpreted as evidence of a weak ASM. Our results potentially reconcile the current divergent interpretations of various proxy climate records from the region. Our findings suggest that the ASM evolution was characterized by a consistent pattern across the monsoonal regions, as indicated by the oxygen isotope record of Chinese speleothems.
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