Climate Dynamics

, Volume 39, Issue 7–8, pp 2079–2088 | Cite as

Decreasing Asian summer monsoon intensity after 1860 AD in the global warming epoch

  • Hai XuEmail author
  • Yetang Hong
  • Bin Hong


The trend of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) intensity and its nature during the past 100 and 200 years still remain unclear. In this study we reconstructed the ISM intensity during the past 270 years from tree ring δ18O at Hongyuan, eastern edge of the Tibet Plateau. The monsoon failures inferred from δ18Otree ring correlate well with those recorded in ice cores, speleothem, and historical literature sources. 22.6, 59.0, and 110.9-years frequency components in the Hongyuan δ18Otree ring series, which may be the responses to solar activities, synchronize well with those recorded in other ISM indices. A notable feature of the reconstructed ISM intensity is the gradually decreasing trend from about 1860 to the present, which is inversely related to the increasing temperature trend contemporaneously. Such “decreasing ISM intensity–increasing temperature” tendency can also be supported by ice core records and meteorological records over a wide geographic extension. The decrease in sea surface temperature gradient between tropical and north Indian Ocean, and the decrease in land-sea thermal contrast between tropical Indian Ocean and “Indian sub-continent–western Himalaya” are possibly responsible for the observed decreasing ISM trend.


Hongyuan Tree ring δ18Indian summer monsoon 



We thank Thompson LG, Duan KQ, Zhang DQ, and Liang EY for providing Dasuopu dust concentration data, Dasuopu ice accumulation data, Rongbuk ice accumulation data, and Yushu tree ring widths, respectively. This work was supported by the projects (41073103; 41173122) funded by natural science foundation of China, and the project (KZCX2-EW-QN103) founded by Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary GeologyInstitute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of SciencesXi’anChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Environmental GeochemistryInstitute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangChina

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