On the glacial-interglacial variability of the Asian monsoon in speleothem δ18O records

G. Liu, X. Li, H. W. Chiang, H. Cheng, S. Yuan, S. Chawchai, S. He, Y. Lu, L. T. Aung, P. M. Maung, W. N. Tun, K. M. Oo, X. Wang

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22 Scopus citations


While Asian monsoon (AM) changes have been clearly captured in Chinese speleothem oxygen isotope (δ18O) records, the lack of glacial-interglacial variability in the records remains puzzling. Here, we report speleothem δ18O records from three locations along the trajectory of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM), a major branch of the AM, and characterize AM rainfall over the past 180,000 years. We have found that the records close to the monsoon moisture source show large glacial-interglacial variability, which then decreases landward. These changes likely reflect a stronger oxygen isotope fractionation associated with progressive rainout of AM moisture during glacial periods, possibly due to a larger temperature gradient and suppressed plant transpiration. We term this effect, which counteracts the forcing of glacial boundary conditions, the moisture transport pathway effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaay8189
JournalScience Advances
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the National Research Foundation of Singapore under its NRF Fellowship scheme (award no. NRF-NRFF2011-08 to X.W.), the EOS, the National Research Foundation and the Singapore Ministry of Education under the Research Centers of Excellence initiative, an NSFC grant (no. 41888101 to H.-W.C.), an NRF-NSFC joint grant (no. NRF2017NRFNSFC001-047 to X.W.), and a DPST research grant (award no. 042/2558 to S.C.).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).


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