Geochemical records in the South China Sea: implications for East Asian summer monsoon evolution over the last 20 Ma
Shiming Wan, Peter D. Clift, Anchun Li, Tiegang Li, Xuebo Yin, 2010. "Geochemical records in the South China Sea: implications for East Asian summer monsoon evolution over the last 20 Ma", Monsoon Evolution and Tectonic–Climate Linkage in Asia, P. D. Clift, R. Tada, H. Zheng
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We reconstruct past changes in the East Asian summer monsoon over the last 20 Ma using samples from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1146 of Leg 184 in the northern South China Sea based on the major (Al, Ca, Na, K, Ti, etc.) and trace element (Rb, Sr, and Ba) geochemistry of terrigenous sediments. This study and combined review suggests that the long-term evolution of the East Asian summer monsoon is similar to that of the Indian summer monsoon, but distinct from the East Asian winter monsoon. Generally, the Asian summer monsoon intensity has decreased gradually from its maximum in the Early Miocene. In contrast, the Asian winter monsoon shows a phased enhancement since 20 Ma bp. Moreover, our study shows that the long-term intensities of the Asian summer and winter monsoons may have different forcing factors. Specifically, the winter monsoon is strongly linked to phased uplift of Tibetan plateau and to Northern Hemispheric Glaciation. In contrast, global cooling since 20 Ma bp may have largely reduced the amount of water vapour held in the atmosphere and thus weakened the Asian summer monsoon.
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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.