Environmental changes in the northern Altai during the last millennium documented in Lake Teletskoye pollen record

Andreev, A.A., Pierau, R., Kalugin, I.A., Daryin, A.V., Smolyaninova, L.G. and Diekmann, B. 2007; Quaternary Research 67: 394-399


A high-resolution pollen record from Lake Teletskoye documents the climate-related vegetation history of the northern Altai Mountain region during the last millennium. Siberian pine taiga with Scots pine, fir, spruce, and birch dominated the vegetation between ca. AD 1050 and 1100. The climate was similar to modern. In the beginning of the 12th century, birch and shrub alder increased. Lowered pollen concentrations and simultaneous peaks in herbs (especially Artemisia and Poaceae), ferns, and charcoal fragments point to colder and more arid climate conditions than before, with frequent fire events. Around AD 1200, regional climate became warmer and more humid than present, as revealed by an increase of Siberian pine and decreases of dry herb taxa and charcoal contents. Climatic conditions were rather stable until ca. AD 1410. An increase of Artemisia pollen may reflect slightly drier climate conditions between AD 1410 and 1560. Increases in Alnus, Betula, Artemisia, and Chenopodiaceae pollen and in charcoal particle contents may reflect further deterioration of climate conditions between AD 1560 and 1810, consistent with the Little Ice Age. After AD 1850 the vegetation gradually approached the modern one, in conjunction with ongoing climate warming.