CLASH – Climate variability and landscape dynamics in South-East Tibet and the Eastern Himalaya during the Late Holocene reconstructed from tree rings, soils and climate modeling


The bundle project CLASH represents a scientific consortium that intends to study Late Holocene climate and landscape dynamics in the eastern Himalaya and the southeast Tibetan plateau by an interdisciplinary approach. It combines empirically derived paleo-climate reconstructions with a plant physiological process study and various techniques of climate modeling. This new and innovative combination of scientific disciplines includes a chain of processes reaching from molecular reactions of organisms to environmental factors, to the preservation of climatic events in natural archives, and to the large-scale modeling of climatic boundary conditions for such events. Thus, different spatial and temporal scales are covered.

The study area includes regions mainly influenced by the Bengal branch of the Southwestern (Indian) part of the Asian summer monsoon system. These regions are located both on the southern declivity of the Himalaya in Bhutan, as well as in the rain shadow on the northern side of the Himalayan crest line. Studied paleo-climate archives include tree rings of living, historic and sub-fossil trees and soils and soil sediments that will be calibrated with spatially high-resolution modeled climate data series. One subproject of CLASH provides the physiological process understanding for the isotope fractionation of trees growing at monsoon-influenced high-mountain sites and thus improves the interpretation basis for tree-ring derived reconstructions of past monsoon activity. The paleo-climatic reconstructions are calibrated with the help of modeled hydrological climate data series. Late Holocene monsoon variations and possible future changes of the southwest Asian monsoon circulation system will be modeled by underlying alternative climate change scenarios.

We will closely cooperate with colleagues from other working groups in terms of paleo-climate reconstruction comparisons (Asian climate variability), plant ecology (Resilience or vulnerability of Tibetan pastures) and modeling. All results derived in our project will supplement other existing projects.


Involved institutes and working groups

Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institut für Geographie

Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF), Institut für Landschaftsbiogeochemie 

Universität Hamburg, Institut für Geographie

GIS Service GmbH Wackernheim