Indian monsoon variability on millennial-orbital timescales

Gayatri Kathayat, Hai Cheng, Ashish Sinha, Christoph Spötl, R. Lawrence Edwards, Haiwei Zhang, Xianglei Li, Liang Yi, Youfeng Ning, Yanjun Cai, Weiguo Lui Lui, Sebastian F M Breitenbach

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148 Scopus citations


The Indian summer monsoon (ISM) monsoon is critical to billions of people living in the region. Yet, significant debates remain on primary ISM drivers on millennial-orbital timescales. Here, we use speleothem oxygen isotope (δ18O) data from Bittoo cave, Northern India to reconstruct ISM variability over the past 280,000 years. We find strong coherence between North Indian and Chinese speleothem δ18O records from the East Asian monsoon domain, suggesting that both Asian monsoon subsystems exhibit a coupled response to changes in Northern Hemisphere summer insolation (NHSI) without significant temporal lags, supporting the view that the tropical-subtropical monsoon variability is driven directly by precession-induced changes in NHSI. Comparisons of the North Indian record with both Antarctic ice core and sea-surface temperature records from the southern Indian Ocean over the last glacial period do not suggest a dominant role of Southern Hemisphere climate processes in regulating the ISM variability on millennial-orbital timescales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24374
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Apr 13 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by grants form National Natural Science Foundation of China to H.C. (NSFC 41230524), Chinese National Basic Research Program to H.C. (2013CB955902), National Natural Science Foundation of China to H.C. (NSFC 4157020432), and National Science Foundation to A.S. (ATM: 0823554), and to R.L.E and H.C. (0502535, 0908792, 1103404 and 1137693).


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