A continuous pollen record from Lake El'gygytgyn (northeastern Russian Arctic) provides detailed information concerning the regional vegetation and climate history during the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT), between 1091 ka (end of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 32) and 715 ka (end of MIS 18). Pollen-based qualitative vegetation reconstruction along with biome reconstruction indicate that the interglacial regional vegetation history during the MPT is characterized by a gradual replacement of forest and shrub vegetation by open herbaceous communities (i.e. tundra/cold steppe). The pollen spectra reveal seven vegetation successions that have clearly distinguishable glacial-interglacial cycles. These successions are represented by the intervals of cold deciduous forest (CLDE) biome scores changing from high to low, which are basically in phase with the variations of obliquity from maxima to minima. The dominating influence of obliquity forcing on vegetation successions contradicts with the stronger power of eccentricity, as demonstrated by the result of wavelet analysis based on landscape openness reconstruction. This discrepancy shows that a single index is insufficient for catching signals of all the impacting factors. Comparisons with vegetation and environmental changes in the Asian interior suggest that global cooling during the MPT was probably the key force driving long-term aridification in the Arctic region. The accelerated aridification after MIS 24–22 was probably caused by the additional effect of the Tibetan Plateau uplift, which played an important role on intensification of the Siberian High and westerly jet systems.
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Between 1020 and 1000 ka (PAZ-V, MIS 28), shrubby vegetation (dwarf birch and shrub alder) decreased in the region again, while larch probably still grew in the lake vicinity. Simultaneous increases in Artemisia and Caryophyllaceae pollen percentages as well as Selaginella rupestris spores suggest an expansion of open steppe habitats and cold and dry climate conditions. This interpretation is supported by increased STEP scores.
Acknowledgements. – The work of W. Zhao was financed by a China Scholarship Council PhD Scholarship. Financial support for palynological analyses was also provided by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF, grant 03G0642) and the German ResearchFoundation(grantME1169/24).TheworkofJ.A.Korzun,A. V. Lozhkin and E. Y. Nedorubova was supported by the Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research (grant 15-05-06420) and the Russian Academy of Sciences (grant 15-I-2-067). The work of A. A. Andreev was also partly performed under the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University. Two anonymous reviewers are sincerely acknowledged for their invaluable comments, which improved the manuscript.
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