An annual layer-counted and 230Th-dated stalagmite oxygen isotope record from Qingtian Cave in Hubei province, central China, provides an Asian Monsoon (AM) history across the Allerød to Younger Dryas (YD) transition, with an average 2.5-year resolution. Seasonal δ18O profiles indicate that the calcite δ18O is a sensitive proxy for AM changes, and the close similarity between the Qingtian and other cave records from eastern China suggests a large-scale regional coherence of monsoonal precipitation δ18O variations associated with the temperature changes in high-northern latitudes. The annually-resolved chronology with a U-Th age uncertainty of less than 100 yr defines the timing, duration and transition of the early Allerød, the intra-Allerød cold period (IACP), the late Allerød, and the start of the YD. The 160-yr-long IACP, with two brief reversals, is clearly shown in both δ18O and lamina thickness records. The early and late Allerød, separated by the IACP, are characterized by several decadal to centennial cycles of δ18O variations, each punctuated by sub-cycles. These decadal to centennial monsoon variations correlate with the Greenland temperature changes, supporting a model simulation that the decadal North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) are coupled via atmospheric circulation under glacial boundary conditions, perhaps affecting tropical/subtropical monsoon changes. However, the monsoon transition between the late Allerød and YD lasted 380 yr, longer than the analogous Greenland temperature shift by at least 130 yr [Stuiver, M., Grootes, P.M., GISP2 oxygen isotope ratios. Quat. Res. 53 (2000) 277-284]. This implicates other links besides the direct link between Greenland and the AM, which is now well documented. One possibility is the influence by Southern Hemisphere climate via cross-equatorial air flow [An, Z.S., The history and variability of the East Asian paleomonsoon climate. Quat. Sci. Rev. 19 (2000) 171-187].
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to I. J. Fairchild for his generous technical comments on an early version of the manuscript. Thanks are also given to an anonymous reviewer for his/her critical and instructive comments. This work was supported by grants of National Nature Science Foundation of China (No.40631003, 40771009 and 40702026).
Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Asian monsoon
- Qingtian Cave
- decadal climate changes