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Source: The post is based on the article “Sediments decode climate and environmental changes on Kaas Plateau around 8664 years BP” published in PIB on 13th July 2023
What is the News?
A study of the sediments from a seasonal lake in the Kaas Plateau has indicated a major shift in the Indian Summer Monsoons towards dry and stressed conditions with low rainfall during the Early-Mid–Holocene, around 8664 years BP.
Note: Holocene is the name given to the last 11,700 years of the Earth’s history — the time since the end of the last major glacial epoch, or “ice age.
What is Kaas Plateau?
Kaas plateau also known as valley of flowers is located on the Western Ghats in Maharashtra.
Its name is derived from the Kaasa tree, botanically known as Elaeocarpus glandulosus (rudraksha family).
It is located on a lake that dates back to the Early-Mid-Holocene period, which means it is an ancient lake that has been preserved over a long time.
It was included in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2012 for being a biodiversity rich zone.
The plateau is known for various types of seasonal wild flowers and species of endemic butterflies.
The plateau boasts of more than 850 species of flowers, which include orchids, shrubs and carnivorous plants, making it a popular tourism destination.
What was the study conducted by researchers at Kaas Plateau?
Researchers studied the ancient lake to understand and decipher the past climate of the Kaas Plateau.
The study has found that there was a major shift in the Indian Summer Monsoons towards dry and stressed conditions with low rainfall during the Early-Mid–Holocene, around 8664 years BP.
Around the late Halocene (around 2827 years BP), there was a decrease in rainfall and a weakened southwest Monsoon.
However, during the recent past (around the last 1000 years), pollen, as well as the presence of a high number of planktonic and pollution-tolerant diatom taxa indicated lake eutrophication, possibly due to human impact and cattle/livestock farming in the catchment.