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Distinct climate change synchronous with Heinrich event one, recorded by stable oxygen and carbon isotopic compositions in stalagmites from China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Houyun Zhou*
Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wushan, Guangzhou 510640, P. R. China
Jianxin Zhao
Radiogenic Isotope Laboratory, Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia
Yuexing Feng
Radiogenic Isotope Laboratory, Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia
Michael K. Gagan
Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
Guoqing Zhou
Department of Earth Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
Jun Yan
School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei 230009, China
*Corresponding author. Fax: +86 20 85290130.E-mail (H. Zhou).


Uranium-series dating of oxygen and carbon isotope records for stalagmite SJ3 collected in Songjia Cave, central China, shows significant variation in past climate and environment during the period 20–10 ka. Stalagmite SJ3 is located more than 1000 km inland of the coastal Hulu Cave in East China and more than 700 km north of the Dongge Cave in Southwest China and despite minor differences, displays a clear first-order similarity with the Hulu and Dongge records. The coldest climatic phase since the Last Glacial Maximum, which is associated with the Heinrich Event 1 in the North Atlantic region, was clearly recorded in SJ3 between 17.6 and 14.5 ka, in good agreement in timing, duration and extent with the records from Hulu and Dongge caves and the Greenland ice core. The results indicate that there have been synchronous and significant climatic changes across monsoonal China and strong teleconnections between the North Atlantic and East Asia regions during the period 20–10 ka. This is much different from the Holocene Optimum which shows a time shift of more than several thousands years from southeast coastal to inland China. It is likely that temperature change at northern high latitudes during glacial periods exerts stronger influence on the Asian summer monsoon relative to insolation and appears to be capable of perturbing large-scale atmospheric/oceanic circulation patterns in the Northern Hemisphere and thus monsoonal rainfall and paleovegetation in East Asia. Climatic signals in the North Atlantic region propagate rapidly to East Asia during glacial periods by influencing the winter land–sea temperature contrast in the East Asian monsoon region.

Research Article
University of Washington

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