Asian monsoon variability and its impact on terrestrial ecosystems in Thailand during the past 25,000 years

Fieldwork diaries

Project summary
Thailand is a key region for a better understanding of the dynamics and impact of the Asian monsoon system: it extends between 5°-20° N, is situated at the boundary between two main monsoon sub-systems and in close proximity to the western Pacific Ocean. Thailand has a variety of lakes and wetlands, which form exceptional paleoenvironmental archives to study continental ecosystem response to past changes in monsoon intensity, but these are virtually unexplored.

Lake sediment and peat archives will be analysed in high temporal resolution and with geophysical, geochemical and biological techniques to contribute to a better understanding of the sensitivity of tropical/subtropical terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to abrupt climate change. The documentation of baseline levels of variability inherent in these ecosystems can maximize their sustainable use and preservation.

Methodological approach to studying lake and wetland sediments.

The precise correlation of the obtained paleoenvironmental records to Northern and Southern Hemispheres paleoclimate archives will make it possible to address phase relationships between tropical and high-latitude regions, thus providing a link between the climatic development in the Southern and Northern Hemisphere and will greatly enhance our understanding of natural climate processes occurring on sub-centennial time scales. Comparisons with climate model simulations will further provide a better understanding of the processes involved in rapid climate shifts.

The project is conducted in collaboration with scientists at Stockholm University, Helsinki University, Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, the National University of Taiwan and Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. Financial support for this project is through various Swedish Research Council grants.

Lakes and wetlands surveyed in Thailand. The red dots indicate lakes/wetlands with sediments dating to the Holocene period and back to 60,000 years, respectively.


Field work pictures

Nut, Pare, Gung and Koy assemble                  Loading the canoes …
the bamboo platform

… and into the dense wetland

Nut and Ludvig add rods to the corer; the closed corer is pulled out and cleaned.

A beautiful new core segment.

The corer is pushed down, rods are added and the corer is closed with the help of a handle.

Pulling the corer out is hard work. But the reward is there …. A new nice and undisturbed sediment core!.

View on Lake Pa Kho                                          While Hywel is filming us, the ducks
and dogs keep an eye on him

The new coring chimney (blue PVC tube in the middle of the boat) and our solar panel.


Contact information:
Barbara Wohlfarth
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Department of Geological Sciences
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