Modern stalagmite oxygen isotopic composition and its implications of climatic change from a high-elevation cave in the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau over the past 50 years

Xunlin Yang, Pingzhong Zhang, Fahu Chen, Chih An Huh, Hongchun Li, Hai Cheng, Kathleen R. Johnson, Jinghua Liu, Chunlei An

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

An oxygen isotope record of a stalagmite from Huanglong Cave in the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau dated with 230Th and 210Pb methods provides variations of the Asian monsoon with an average resolution of 1 year over the past 50 years. This study shows that the δ 18O of dripwater in the cave represents the annual mean δ 18O of local meteoric precipitation and the stalagmites were deposited in isotopic equilibrium. A comparison of the stalagmite δ 18O record with instrumentally meteorological data indicates that shifts of the δ 18O are largely controlled by the amount effect of meteoric precipitation conveyed through the southwest monsoon (the Indian monsoon) and less affected by temperature. Therefore, the variations of δ 18O record reflect the changes in monsoon precipitation on inter-annual time scales under the influence of the southwest monsoon. Like many other stalagmite δ 18O records in the Asian monsoon regions, the δ 18O record of the stalagmite from Huanglong Cave also reveals a gradually enriched trend during the past 50 years, i.e. relatively enriched in 18O. This trend may indicate the decline of the Asian monsoon intensity which is consistent with the decrease of monsoon indices. The weakening of the modern Asian monsoon well matched with the temperature changes in stratosphere, which may illustrate that the weakening of the monsoon mainly results from the lowering of solar radiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1238-1247
Number of pages10
JournalChinese Science Bulletin
Volume52
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received August 8, 2006; accepted January 30, 2007 doi: 10.1007/s11434-007-0166-4 †Corresponding author (email: pzzhang@lzu.edu.cn) Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 40471137), the Innovation Team Project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 40421101) and Doctor Station Foundation, Ministry of Education of China

Keywords

  • Asian monsoon
  • High-resolution
  • Oxygen isotopic composition
  • Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
  • Stalagmite

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