Ecological niche model for Unusual warm/humid climate boosted agricultural productivity on the Tibetan Plateau in the Early Medieval Period

Published: 20 March 2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/gt93zmy547.1
Juzhi Hou, Kejia Ji, Erlei Zhu, Shuilong Zhang, Guanghui Dong, Guoqiang Chu, Wenxiang Wu, Jade d'Alpoim Guedes, Fahu Chen


During the 7~9th century, the Tibetan Empire constituted a superpower between Tang Empire and the Abbasid Caliphate: one that played a significant role in geopolitics in Asia during the Early Medieval Period. It is unclear what factors led to the rise and rapid decline of this powerful empire: the only united regime in the Tibetan history. We present sub-annual scale precipitation and decadal-scale temperature records in the central Tibetan Plateau, indicating that the height of this empire coincided with a two centuries long interval of uncharacteristically warm and humid climate. The ameliorated climate enabled the expansion of arable land and increased agricultural production. This has implications for agricultural production in alpine regions including Tibetan Plateau in context of current global warming. The elevation data of the Tibetan Plateau (26°00’-39°47’N, 73°19’-104°47’E) was downloaded for the GDEMDEM 30M digital elevation data from the Geospatial Data Cloud ( Because the dataset is 3.48 GB in zipped format (14.98GB in raster format), which can be downloaded from the original website. If there are any problems, please contact us directly.



Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research Chinese Academy of Sciences


Climate Change, Sustainable Agriculture, Environmental Change