The East Asian summer monsoon variability over the last 145 years inferred from the Shihua Cave record, North China

Xianglei Li, Hai Cheng, Liangcheng Tan, Fengmei Ban, Ashish Sinha, Wuhui Duan, Hanying Li, Haiwei Zhang, Youfeng Ning, Gayatri Kathayat, R. Lawrence Edwards

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The precipitation variability associated with the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) has profound societal implications. Here, we use precisely dated and seasonally-resolved stalagmite oxygen isotope (δ18O) records from Shihua Cave, North China to reconstruct the EASM variability over the last 145 years. Our record shows a remarkable weakening of the EASM strength since the 1880s, which may be causally linked to the warming of the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans. The δ18O record also exhibits a significant ~30-year periodicity, consistent with the instrumental, historical and proxy-based rainfall records from North China, plausibly driven by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Together, these observations imply that ~30-year periodicity is a persistent feature of the EASM, which remains significant with or without anthropogenic forcing. If indeed, the EASM rainfall in North China might decline significantly in the near future, which may affect millions of people in this region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7078
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Ming Tan for his advice on data analysis and discussion. This work was supported by grants from National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) to H.C. (41230524), the National Basic Research Program of China to H.C. (2013CB55902), NSFC to H.C. (41561144003), and National Natural Science Foundation of China to L.T. (41372192) and F.B. (41402161). Support for the Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project version 2c dataset is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research (BER), and by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Program Office.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).


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