Abstract

Oxygen isotope records of three stalagmites from Hulu Cave, China, extend the previous high-resolution absolute-dated Hulu Asian Monsoon record from the last to the penultimate glacial and deglacial periods. The penultimate glacial monsoon broadly follows orbitally induced insolation variations and is punctuated by at least 16 millennial-scale events. We confirm a Weak Monsoon Interval between 135.5 ± 1.0 and 129.0 ± 1.0 ka, prior to the abrupt increase in monsoon intensity at Asian Monsoon Termination II. Based on correlations with both marine ice-rafted debris and atmospheric CH4 records, we demonstrate that most of marine Termination II, the full rise in Antarctic temperature and atmospheric CO2, and much of the rise in CH4 occurred within the Weak Monsoon Interval, when the high northern latitudes were probably cold. From these relationships and similar relationships observed for Termination I, we identify a two-phase glacial termination process that was probably driven by orbital forcing in both hemispheres, affecting the atmospheric hydrological cycle, and combined with ice sheet dynamics.

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