Our understanding on the spatial-temporal patterns of climatic variability over the last few millennia in the East Asian monsoon-dominated northern China (NC), and its role at a macro-scale in affecting the prosperity and depression of Chinese dynasties is limited. Quantitative high-resolution, regionally-synthesized palaeoclimatic reconstructions as well as simulations, and numerical analyses of their relationships with various fine-scale, numerical agro-ecological, social-economic, and geo-political historical records during the period of China's history, are presented here for NC. We utilize pollen data together with climate modeling to reconstruct and simulate decadal- to centennial-scale variations in precipitation or temperature for NC during the last 2200 years (-200–2000 AD). We find an overall cyclic-pattern (wet/warm or dry/cold) in the precipitation and temperature anomalies on centennial- to millennial-scale that can be likely considered as a representative for the entire NC by comparison with other related climatic records. We suggest that solar activity may play a key role in driving the climatic fluctuations in NC during the last 22 centuries, with its quasi ∼100, 50, 23, or 22-year periodicity clearly identified in our climatic reconstructions. We employ variation partitioning and redundancy analysis to quantify the independent effects of climatic factors on accounting for the total variation of 17 fine-grained numerical Chinese historical records. We quantitatively illustrate that precipitation (67.4%) may have been more important than temperature (32.5%) in causing the overall agro-ecological and macro-geopolitical shifts in imperial China with NC as the central ruling region and an agricultural heartland over the last 2200 years. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.
CitationLi, J., Dodson, J., Yan, H., Zhang, D. D., Zhang, X., Xu, Q., et al. (2017). Quantifying climatic variability in monsoonal northern China over the last 2200 years and its role in driving Chinese dynastic changes. Quaternary Science Reviews, 159, 35-46.
- Pollen data
- Northern China
- Climatic variability
- Chinese dynasties