Penultimate deglaciation Asian monsoon response to North Atlantic circulation collapse

Jasper A. Wassenburg, Hubert B. Vonhof, Hai Cheng, Alfredo Martínez-García, Pia Rebecca Ebner, Xianglei Li, Haiwei Zhang, Lijuan Sha, Ye Tian, R. Lawrence Edwards, Jens Fiebig, Gerald H. Haug

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20 Scopus citations


During glacial terminations, massive iceberg discharges and meltwater pulses in the North Atlantic triggered a shutdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Speleothem calcium carbonate oxygen isotope records (δ18OCc) indicate that the collapse of the AMOC caused dramatic changes in the distribution and variability of the East Asian and Indian monsoon rainfall. However, the mechanisms linking changes in the intensity of the AMOC and Asian monsoon δ18OCc are not fully understood. Part of the challenge arises from the fact that speleothem δ18OCc depends on not only the δ18O of precipitation but also temperature and kinetic isotope effects. Here we quantitatively deconvolve these parameters affecting δ18OCc by applying three geochemical techniques in speleothems covering the penultimate glacial termination. Our data suggest that the weakening of the AMOC during meltwater pulse 2A caused substantial cooling in East Asia and a shortening of the summer monsoon season, whereas the collapse of the AMOC during meltwater pulse 2B (133,000 years ago) also caused a dramatic decrease in the intensity of the Indian summer monsoon. These results reveal that the different modes of the AMOC produced distinct impacts on the monsoon system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-941
Number of pages5
JournalNature Geoscience
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank S. Brömme for conducting CaCO3 oxygen isotope analysis and M. Schmidt for technical support in the TEX86 analysis at the MPIC. This study was funded by the Max Planck Society. H.C. acknowledges funding from NSFC grant 41888101, and R.L.E. acknowledges US NSF grant 1702816. J.A.W. acknowledges support from the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), Republic of Korea, under IBS-R028-Y2.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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