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The Asian monsoon is an important component of the global climate system. Seasonal variations in wind, rainfall, and temperature associated with the Asian monsoon systems affect a vast expanse of tropical and subtropical Asia. Speleothem-derived summer monsoon variation in East Asia was previously found to be closely associated with millennial-scale change in temperature in the North Atlantic region between 75 and 10 ka. New evidence recovered from East Asia, however, suggests that the teleconnection between summer monsoon in East Asia and temperature change in the North Atlantic region may have significantly reduced during 120 to ~ 110 ka, a period directly after the full last interglaciation and corresponding roughly to marine oxygen isotope stage 5d. This reduction may be due to the low ice volume in the North Hemisphere at that time, which makes the millennial-scale change in temperature in the North Atlantic region less effective in influencing the Asian summer monsoon. This is important for investigating the mechanisms controlling the Asian summer monsoon and the paleoclimatic teleconnection between East Asia and the North Atlantic region, and for predicting monsoon-associated precipitation in East Asia under a global-warming trend.
Manganese (Mn) and rare-earth elements (REEs) in a stalagmite (SJ3) collected from Central China were analyzed, using an ICP-MS method for the precise determination of > 40 trace elements in geological samples by enriched-isotope internal standardization. Unlike speleothem Mn and REEs investigated by cathodoluminescence, which may be incorporated into crystal lattice, the Mn and REEs analyzed in SJ3 should come largely from colloidal and particle phases in groundwater and may be associated with non-carbonate inclusions. The Mn and REEs in SJ3 vary significantly during the period between 20 and 10 ka. These elements show remarkable increases since ∼ 14.5 ka, suggesting enhanced weathering of the overlying soil layer and the host rock since the onset of the last deglaciation and the strengthening of the Asian summer monsoon. In addition, the Mn and REEs in SJ3 display significant centennial fluctuations which may reflect groundwater dynamics.
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.
A 50-yr resolution reconstruction of climate and environment variability during the period 43–14 ka was developed using 26 high-precision U/Th dates and 390 oxygen isotope (δ18O) data of a stalagmite (SJ1) collected from Songjia Cave in central China, which is close to the northwestern boundary of the Asian summer monsoon (ASM). The δ18O record in SJ1 displays significant millennial-scale changes that correlate well in timing and duration with Dansgaard/Oeschger (D/O) events 5–10 and Heinrich event 4 (H4) identified in high-latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Four 230Th dates constrain the H4 event precisely to the period of 39.7 to 38.3 ka. Notable centennial variations of the ASM activity could be observed within the H4 event. The magnitude and duration of D/O event 4.1 recorded in SJ1 are similar to those archived in east China but different from those documented in southwest China, suggesting that the manifestation of this event may be regionally different. The timing, duration and structure of D/O events 5–10 and Heinrich event 4 suggest that temperature changes in both hemispheres have exerted significant influences on the ASM variations in central China.
The sediments in Lake Huguang Maar in coastal South China were previously thought to originate mainly from wind-blown dust transported from North China, such that the lake sediments recorded the varying strength of the Asian winter monsoon. An alternative explanation was that the local pyroclastic rocks supplied the lake sediments, but the actual contributions from the different sources remained unclear. Geochemical analyses including 87Sr/86Sr and 143Nd/144Nd and trace elements support the local pyroclastic rock as the dominant source: <22% of the total Sr in the lake sediments and ∼ 17% of the Nd arises from the distant source. Nb/Ta and Zr/Hf for the lake sediments are identical to those for the local rock but differ from the ratios for the wind-blown dust, and chondrite-normalized rare earth element patterns for the lake sediments are similar to those for the local rock and soil, but differ from those for the distant source. The sediments in Lake Huguang Maar are probably input into the lake through runoff and thus controlled by the hydrology of the lake. Wind-blown dust transported by the Asian winter monsoon from arid North China is only a minor contribution to the sediments.
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