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Local and regional Indian summer monsoon precipitation dynamics during Termination II and the last interglacial

Magiera, M
Lechleitner, FA
Erhardt, AM
Hartland, A
Kwiecien, O
Cheng, H
Bradbury, HJ
Turchyn, AV
Riechelmann, S
Edwards, L
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Journal Article
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To date Indian summer monsoon (ISM) dynamics have been assessed by changes in stalagmite δ¹⁸O. However, stalagmite δ¹⁸O is influenced by multiple environmental factors (e.g., atmospheric moisture transport, rainfall amount at the study site, and ISM seasonality), precluding simple and clear reconstructions of rainfall amount or variability. This study aims to disentangle these environmental factors by combining δ¹⁸O, δ⁴⁴Ca, and elemental data from a stalagmite covering Termination II and the last interglacial from Mawmluh Cave, NE India, to produce a semiquantitative reconstruction of past ISM rainfall. We interpret δ¹⁸O as a mixed signal of rainfall source dynamics and rainfall amount and coupled δ⁴⁴Ca and X/Ca ratios as indicators of local infiltration rate and prior calcite precipitation in the karst zone. The wettest conditions in our studied interval (135 and 100 kyrs BP; BP = before present, with the present being 1950 CE) occurred during Marine Isotope Stage 5e. Our multiproxy data set suggests a likely change in seasonal distribution of Marine Isotope Stage 5e rainfall compared to the Holocene; the wet season was longer with higher-than-modern dry season rainfall. Using the last interglacial as an analogue for future anthropogenic warming, our data suggest a more erratic ISM behavior in a warmer world.
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