Holocene Monsoon Change and Abrupt Events on the Western Chinese Loess Plateau as Revealed by Accurately Dated Stalagmites

Liangcheng Tan, Yanzhen Li, Xiqian Wang, Yanjun Cai, Fangyuan Lin, Hai Cheng, Le Ma, Ashish Sinha, R. Lawrence Edwards

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25 Scopus citations


Here we present, to date, the highest-resolved (~5 years) and most precisely dated Holocene monsoon climate reconstruction for the western Chinese Loess Plateau based on five replicated stalagmite δ18O records from Wuya Cave, eastern Gansu, China. Our record suggests the wettest period occurred between 10,500 and 6,600 a BP in this region. After this period, the amplitude of Asian summer monsoon decadal-scale variability progressively increased likely in response to increasing ENSO frequency since the middle Holocene. Our study reveals similar asymmetric centennial-scale double-plunging structures of the 8.2, 5.5, and 2.8 ka events in the western Chinese Loess Plateau, suggesting a possible role of solar activity whose impact was amplified around 8.2 ka BP by the meltwater flood. In contrast, the 4.2 ka event exhibit gradually declining monsoon rainfall with centennial- to decadal-scale fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020GL090273
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 16 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the editor and three reviewers for their constructive suggestions. This study was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of CAS (XDB40000000) and the NSFC (41372192, 41888101). It was also partly supported by the CAS PIFI Program (2020VCA0019), the USA NSF (0908792, 1211299, and 1702816), the 111 program of China (D19002), and the Belt & Road Center for Climate and Environment Studies of IEECAS.

Publisher Copyright:
©2020. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • Asian summer monsoon
  • Holocene
  • Loess Plateau
  • abrupt events
  • northern China
  • speleothem


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