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δ18O records from Tibetan ice cores reveal differences in climatic changes

  • Tandong Yao (a1), Zexia Li (a2), Lonnie G. Thompson (a3), Ellen Mosley-Thompson (a3), Youqing Wang (a1), Lide Tian (a2), Ninglian Wang (a2) and Keqin Duan (a2)...


Observations of the δ18O in precipitation from four ice cores (Puruogangri, Dasuopu, Guliya and Dunde) from the Tibetan Plateau (TP) provide additional important perspectives on climatic warming during the 20th century in a region where there is a lack of instrumental and observational climate data. The average δ18O and surface air temperature over the TP show very similar fluctuations since 1955, which provides new evidence that the δ18O in the ice cores is at least in part a temperature signal. Nevertheless differences and similarities exist among the four records. Some climatic events, particularly the major cooling episodes, are synchronously recorded in Puruogangri and Dasuopu and in the Bange meteorological air-temperature record. The major features of the ice cores allow them to be classified into two groups, the northern TP group (Dunde and Guliya) and southern TP group (Puruogangri and Dasuopu). This classification is determined by the different processes driving climate change between the northern and southern regions of the TP. Moreover, the δ18O variability between the ice cores within each region further documents the smaller-scale regional variability.

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