Variability of stalagmite-inferred Indian monsoon precipitation over the past 252,000 y

Yanjun Cai, Inez Y. Fung, R. Lawrence Edwards, Zhisheng An, Hai Cheng, Jung Eun Lee, Liangcheng Tan, Chuan Chou Shen, Xianfeng Wang, Jesse A. Day, Weijian Zhou, Megan J. Kelly, John C H Chiang

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244 Scopus citations


A speleothem δ18O record from Xiaobailong cave in southwest China characterizes changes in summer monsoon precipitation in Northeastern India, the Himalayan foothills, Bangladesh, and northern Indochina over the last 252 kyr. This record is dominated by 23-kyr precessional cycles punctuated by prominent millennial-scale oscillations that are synchronous with Heinrich events in the North Atlantic. It also shows clear glacial-interglacial variations that are consistent with marine and other terrestrial proxies but are different from the cave records in East China. Corroborated by isotope-enabled global circulation modeling, we hypothesize that this disparity reflects differing changes in atmospheric circulation and moisture trajectories associated with climate forcing as well as with associated topographic changes during glacial periods, in particular redistribution of air mass above the growing ice sheets and the exposure of the "land bridge" in the Maritime continents in the western equatorial Pacific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2954-2959
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 10 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


  • Indian summer monsoon
  • Precipitation glacial-interglacial
  • Stalagmite
  • δO


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