Accessibility navigation

Where were the monsoon regions and arid zones in Asia prior to the Tibetan Plateau uplift?

Liu, X., Guo, Q., Guo, Z., Yin, Z.-Y., Dong, B. ORCID: and Smith, R. ORCID: (2015) Where were the monsoon regions and arid zones in Asia prior to the Tibetan Plateau uplift? National Science Review, 2 (4). pp. 403-416. ISSN 2053-714X

Text - Accepted Version
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/nsr/nwv068


The impact of the Tibetan Plateau uplift on the Asian monsoons and inland arid climates is an important but also controversial question in studies of paleoenvironmental change during the Cenozoic. In order to achieve a good understanding of the background for the formation of the Asian monsoons and arid environments, it is necessary to know the characteristics of the distribution of monsoon regions and arid zones in Asia before the plateau uplift. In this study, we discuss in detail the patterns of distribution of the Asian monsoon and arid regions before the plateau uplift on the basis of modeling results without topography from a global coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model, compare our results with previous simulation studies and available biogeological data, and review the uncertainties in the current knowledge. Based on what we know at the moment, tropical monsoon climates existed south of 20°N in South and Southeast Asia before the plateau uplift, while the East Asian monsoon was entirely absent in the extratropics. These tropical monsoons mainly resulted from the seasonal shifts of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone. There may have been a quasi-monsoon region in central-southern Siberia. Most of the arid regions in the Asian continent were limited to the latitudes of 20–40°N, corresponding to the range of the subtropical high pressure year-around. In the meantime, the present-day arid regions located in the relatively high latitudes in Central Asia were most likely absent before the plateau uplift. The main results from the above modeling analyses are qualitatively consistent with the available biogeological data. These results highlight the importance of the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau in the Cenozoic evolution of the Asian climate pattern of dry–wet conditions. Future studies should be focused on effects of the changes in land–sea distribution and atmospheric CO2 concentrations before and after the plateau uplift, and also on cross-comparisons between numerical simulations and geological evidence, so that a comprehensive understanding of the evolution of the Cenozoic paleoenvironments in Asia can be achieved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Past Climate Change
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:53077
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Publisher Statement:This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in National Science Review following peer review. The version of record is available online at:


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation