Monsoon evolution and tectonics–climate linkage in Asia: an introduction
Peter D. Clift, Ryuji Tada, Hongbo Zheng, 2010. "Monsoon evolution and tectonics–climate linkage in Asia: an introduction", Monsoon Evolution and Tectonic–Climate Linkage in Asia, P. D. Clift, R. Tada, H. Zheng
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Interactions between the solid Earth and climate, both on local and global scales are increasingly being considered as important within the sphere of the Earth and ocean sciences. For example, it has long been recognized that opening and closure of oceanic gateways, as a result of continental break-up and collision processes, can lead to changes in oceanic circulation patterns and so to changes in climate (Kennett 1977; Haug et al. 2001; von der Heydt & Dijkstra 2006). In addition, uplift of mountain chains can disrupt atmospheric circulation by deflecting the jet stream and altering planetary climatic belts (Tada 2004), as well as generating orographic rainfall concentration and rain shadows in the immediate vicinity of mountainous topography (Jiang et al. 2003). However, the most dramatic example of the solid Earth affecting climate is the proposed relationship between the growth of the topography in Central Asia during the Cenozoic and the intensification of the Asian monsoon. Asia is not the only continent to have a monsoon, but this monsoon is by far the most powerful and is driven by the temperature differences between the Eurasian continent and the Indian and Pacific Oceans (Webster et al. 1998; Clift & Plumb 2008), which causes a circulation reversal to the normal Hadley circulation in South and East Asia during the summer. In particular, growth of the Tibetan Plateau has been cited as being a trigger for a much stronger summer monsoon than might
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The Earth’s climate varies through geological time as a result of external, orbital processes, as well as the positions of continents, growth of mountains and the opening and closure of oceanic gateways. Climate modelling suggests that the intensity of the Asian monsoon should correlate, at least in part, with the uplift history of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalaya, as well as the evolution of gateways and the retreat of shallow seas in Central Asia. Long-term reconstructions of both mountain building and monsoon activity are key to testing the proposed links. This collection of papers presents a series of new studies documenting the variations of the Asian monsoon on orbital and tectonic timescales, together with the impact this has had on environmental conditions. The issue of which proxies are best suited to measuring monsoons is addressed, as is the effect that the monsoon has had on erosion and the formation of the stratigraphic record both on and offshore.