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Tree-Ring δD as an Indicator of Asian Monsoon Intensity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Xiahong Feng
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 03755
Haiting Cui
Affiliation:
Department of Geography, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China
Kuilian Tang
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 03755
Laura E. Conkey
Affiliation:
Department of Geography, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 03755

Abstract

Oxygen and hydrogen isotopic compositions of meteoric water are known to correlate with surface air temperature, except in tropical areas. This relationship has been described using a number of terms corresponding to specific observations, such as latitude, altitude and seasonal effects. However, these temperature effects do not seem to apply to precipitation in monsoonal areas of Asia. Questions have been raised as to whether the isotopic composition of meteoric water can be used to reconstruct paleomonsoon intensity. Tree rings of two modern spruce trees (Picea meyeri) and a 10,000-yr-old timber (Picea jezoensis) were analyzed for hydrogen isotopic composition. On average, the older tree is depleted in deuterium by 45‰ compared to the modern trees. We attribute this isotopic depletion to the strength of summer monsoons, which were more intense in the early Holocene than at present. Although this study is not definitive, it suggests that paleomonsoon intensity can be reconstructed by direct or proxy methods that yield the oxygen or hydrogen isotopic composition of meteoric water.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
University of Washington

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