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Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences 

10 Fenghui South Road, Xi’an, 710075, China




Professional areas of expertise:

Loess and Paleoclimatology

Paleomonsoon variations and global change, particularly on climatic effect of Tibetan Plateau growth

Protection and sustainable development of the Loess Plateau and western China.

An Zhisheng was elected member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1991, then member of Third World Academy of Sciences. Currently he is professor of the Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences.


An Zhisheng had made important contribution to the comparison of Chinese loess-paleosol sequence with deep sea δ18O records, and to the relationship between loess accumulation and environment evolution. He and his group sifted out the proxies that reflect East Asian monsoon changes, reconstructed proxy sequences of East Asian Monsoon variations at different time scales since the late Miocene, more importantly he proposed the “monsoon control” hypothesis of East Asian environment variations. He also pointed out the instability, periodicity and diachronism of East Asian monsoon changes. He and his group presented the Evolution of Asian monsoons and phased uplift of the Himalaya-Tibetan plateau since Late Miocene times. He also put in great efforts to understanding the interaction between the north and south hemisphere climates. His recent work on Heqing paleolake provides new insight into Indian summer monsoon and global climate. Apart from paleo climate study, Prof. An devoted much attention to western China environment and the Loess Plateau, and presented many suggestions to government for countermeasures of the eco-environmental protection in western China and air pollution in the big city.

He and his group had published more than 100 papers on domestic and international reputed journals including “Nature”, “Science” and “Science in China”, etc, which had been highly commented and cited by peer scientists. By “Science Watch”, An Zhisheng was ranked No.16 on the international geoscience section for high citation of papers published from 1996-2007.

An Zhisheng has serviced as Vice Chairman of INQUA from 1999 to 2007, and Vice Chair of IGBP steering committee from 2003 to 2006.

Selected Publications:

An, Z. S., Clemens, S. C., Shen, J., Qiang, X. K., Jin, Z. D., Sun, Y. B., Prell, W. L., Luo, J. J., Wang, S. M., Xu, H., Cai, Y. J., Zhou, W. J., Liu, X. D., Liu, W. G., Shi, Z. G., Yan, L. B., Xiao, X. Y., Chang, H., Wu, F., Ai, L., Lu, F. Y.. Glacial-Interglacial Indian Summer Monsoon Dynamics. Science 333, 719-723, (2011).

Cai, Y. J., An, Z. S., Cheng, H., Edwards, R.L., Kelly, M.J., Liu, W.G., Wang, X.F., Shen, C.C. (2006). High-resolution absolute-dated Indian Monsoon record between 53 and 36 ka from Xiaobailong Cave, southwestern China. Geology, 34: 621-624. 

An, Z. S., Wang, P., Shen, J., Zhang, Y. X., Zhang, P. Z., Wang, S. M., Li, X. Q., Sun, Q. L., Song, Y. G., Ai, L., Zhang, Y. C., Jiang, S. R., Liu X. Q., Wang Y. (2006). Geophysical survey on the tectonic and sediment distribution of Qinghai Lake basin. Science in China, 49(8):851-861.

An, Z. S., Huang, Y. S., Liu, W. G., Guo, Z. T., Clemens, S., Li, L., Prell, W., Ning, Y. F., Cai, Y. J., Zhou, W. J., Lin, B. H., Zhang, Q. L., Cao, Y. N., Qiang, X. K., Chang, H., Wu, Z. K. Multiple expansions of C4 plant biomass in East Asia since 7 Ma coupled with strengthened monsoon circulation. Geology 33, 705-708 (2005).

Jickells, T.D., An, Z. S., Andersen, K.K., Baker, A.R., Bergametti, G., Brooks, N., Cao, J.J., Boyd, P.W., Duce, R.A., Hunter, K.A., Kawahata, H., Kubilay, N., laRoche, J., Liss, P.S., Mahowald, N., Prospero, J.M., Ridgwell, A.J., Tegen, I., Torres, R. (2005). Global iron connections between desert dust, ocean biogeochemistry, and climate. Science, 308:67-71.

An, Z. S., Kutzbach, J. E., Prell, W. L. & Porter, S. C. Evolution of Asian monsoons and phased uplift of the Himalaya-Tibetan plateau since Late Miocene times. Nature 411, 62-66 (2001).

Wang, Y. J., Cheng, H., Edwards, R. L., An, Z. S., Wu, J. Y., Shen, C. C. & Dorale, J. A. A High Resolution Absolute-Dated Late Pleistocene Monsoon Record from Hulu Cave, China. Science 294, 2345-2348 (2001).

An, Z. S. The history and variability of the East Asian paleomonsoon climate. Quaternary Science Reviews 19, 171-187 (2000).

An, Z. S., Porter, S.C., Kutzbach, J.E., Wu, X.H., Wang, S.M., Liu, X.D., Li, X.Q., Zhou, W.J. (2000). Asynchronous Holocene optimum of the East Asian monsoon. Quaternary Science Reviews, 19:743-762.

An, Z. S. & Thompson L.G. Paleoclimatic change of monsoonal China linked to global change. In: Galloway, J. N. and Melillo J.M. (eds.) Asian Change in the Context of Global Climate Change. pp 18-41. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK (1998).

An, Z. S., Wang, S.M., Wu, X.H., Chen, M.Y., Sun, D.H., Liu, X.M., Wang, F.B.,Li, L., Sun, Y.B., Zhou, W.J., Zhou, J., Liu, X.D., Lu, H.Y., Zhang, Y.X., Dong, G.G., Qiang, X.K.(1998). Eolian evidence from the Chinese Loess Plateau: the onset of the Late Cenozoic Great Glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere and Qinghai-Xizang Plateau uplift forcing. Science in China Series D-Earth Sciences, 42:258-271.

An, Z. S. & Porter, S. C. Millennial-scale climatic oscillations during the last interglaciation in central China. Geology 25, 603-606 (1997).

Porter, S. C. & An, Z. S. Correlation between climate events in the North Atlantic and China during the last glaciation. Nature 375, 305-308 (1995).

Shackleton, N.J., An, Z. S., Dodonov, A.E., Gavin, J., Kukla, G.J., Ranov, V.A., Zhou, L.P. (1995). Accumulation rate of loess in Tadjikistan and China: Relationship with global ice volume cycles. Quaternary Proceedings, 4:1-6.

An Z. S., S.C. Porter, Weijian Zhou (1993). Episode of strengthened summer monsoon climate of Younger Dryas age on the Loess Plateau of Central China. Quaternary Research, 39:45~54.

An, Z. S., Kukla, G. J., Porter, S. C. & Xiao, J. L. Magnetic susceptibility evidence of monsoon variation on the Loess Plateau of central China during the last 130,000 years. Quaternary Research 36, 29-36 (1991).

An, Z. S., Wu X. H., Wang P. X. et al. Paleomonsoons of China over the past 130,000 years—Paleomonsoons records. Science in China (Series B) 34, 1007-1015 (1991).

An, Z. S.,Wu X. H., Wang P. X. et al. Paleomonsoons of China over the past 130,000 years—Paleomonsoons variation. Science in China (Series B) 34, 1016-1024 (1991).

An, Z. S., Liu T. S., Lu Y. C., Porter S. C., Kukla J. G., Wu X. H. & Hua Y. M. The long-term paleomonsoon variation recorded by the loess-paleosol sequence in Central China. Quaternary International 7-8, 91-95 (1990).

Kukla, G., An Z. S. (1989). Loess stratigraphy in central China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology,72:203-225. (Times cited: 312)

Impacts of natural processes and human activities on the eco-environments of northwest China, invited by the President of the People's Republic of ChinaJiang Zemin during the national People’s Congress, Institute of Earth and Environment, CAS (An Zhisheng as the chief author), 2001. (in Chinese)

An, Z. S., Zhang, X. Y., Cao, J. J., Su, G. L., Zhang, C. Z. (2001). Particulate Pollution Control in Xi'an. In: Urban Air Pollution Control in China, United Nation Development Program & China International Center of Economic and Technology Exchange, Eds., China Science & Technology Press, pp 76-88. (Report to UNDP)

Scientific and technological issues in Loess Plateau Ecological Environment Construction, consult report, submitted to the State Council of China, Earth Science Division, CAS (An Zhisheng as the organizer and chief writer ), 2002. (in Chinese)

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