Long-term decrease in Asian monsoon rainfall and abrupt climate change events over the past 6,700 years

Yang, Bao, Qin, Chun, Bräuning, Achim, Osborn, Timothy ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8425-6799, Trouet, Valerie, Ljungqvist, Fredrik Charpentier, Esper, Jan, Schneider, Lea, Grießinger, Jussi, Büntgen, Ulf, Rossi, Sergio, Dong, Guanghui, Yan, Mi, Ning, Liang, Wang, Jianglin, Wang, Xiaofeng, Wang, Suming, Luterbacher, Jürg, Cook, Edward R. and Stenseth, Nils Chr. (2021) Long-term decrease in Asian monsoon rainfall and abrupt climate change events over the past 6,700 years. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118 (30). ISSN 0027-8424

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Asian summer monsoon (ASM) variability and its long-term ecological and societal impacts extending back to Neolithic times are poorly understood due to a lack of high-resolution climate proxy data. Here, we present a precisely dated and well-calibrated tree-ring stable isotope chronology from the Tibetan Plateau with 1- to 5-y resolution that reflects high- to low-frequency ASM variability from 4680 BCE to 2011 CE. Superimposed on a persistent drying trend since the mid-Holocene, a rapid decrease in moisture availability between ∼2000 and ∼1500 BCE caused a dry hydroclimatic regime from ∼1675 to ∼1185 BCE, with mean precipitation estimated at 42 ± 4% and 5 ± 2% lower than during the mid-Holocene and the instrumental period, respectively. This second-millennium–BCE megadrought marks the mid-to late Holocene transition, during which regional forests declined and enhanced aeolian activity affected northern Chinese ecosystems. We argue that this abrupt aridification starting ∼2000 BCE contributed to the shift of Neolithic cultures in northern China and likely triggered human migration and societal transformation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: B.Y., T.Y., and J.W. are funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (Grant Nos. 41520104005 and 41888101). B.Y., J.W., L.S., and T.J.O. were supported by the Belmont Forum and the Joint Programming Initiative-Climate, Collaborative Research Action “INTEGRATE, an integrated data-model study of interactions between tropical monsoons and extratropical climate variability and extremes” (NSFC Grant No. 41661144008; UK Natural Environment Research Council Grant No. NE/P006809/1). A.B. acknowledges financial support from the German Science Foundation (Grant No. BR 1895/21-1). F.C.L. acknowledges support from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, Grant No 2018-01272) and conducted the work with this article as a Pro Futura Scientia XIII Fellow funded by the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study through Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.
Uncontrolled Keywords: tree rings,stable isotopes,climate variability,megadrought,asian summer monsoon,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Water Security Research Centre
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Climatic Research Unit
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2021 00:05
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 22:31
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/80283
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2102007118


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