Orbital climate variability on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau across the Eocene–Oligocene transition

Hong Ao, Guillaume Dupont-Nivet, Eelco J. Rohling, Peng Zhang, Jean-Baptiste Ladant, Andrew P. Roberts, Alexis Licht, Qingsong Liu, Zhonghui Liu, Mark J. Dekkers, Helen K. Coxall, Zhangdong Jin, Chunju Huang, Guoqiao Xiao, Christopher J. Poulsen, Natasha Barbolini, Niels Meijer, Qiang Sun, Xiaoke Qiang, Jiao Yao & Zhisheng An

Nature Communications: v. 11, no. 1, p. 5249. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-18824-8

The first major build-up of Antarctic glaciation occurred in two consecutive stages across the Eocene–Oligocene transition (EOT): the EOT-1 cooling event at ~34.1–33.9 Ma and the Oi-1 glaciation event at ~33.8–33.6 Ma. Detailed orbital-scale terrestrial environmental responses to these events remain poorly known. Here we present magnetic and geochemical climate records from the northeastern Tibetan Plateau margin that are dated precisely from ~35.5 to 31 Ma by combined magneto- and astro-chronology. These records suggest a hydroclimate transition at ~33.7 Ma from eccentricity dominated cycles to oscillations paced by a combination of eccentricity, obliquity, and precession, and confirm that major Asian aridification and cooling occurred at Oi-1. We conclude that this terrestrial orbital response transition coincided with a similar transition in the marine benthic δ18O record for global ice volume and deep-sea temperature variations. The dramatic reorganization of the Asian climate system coincident with Oi-1 was, thus, a response to coeval atmospheric CO2 decline and continental-scale Antarctic glaciation.