Climate Dynamics

, Volume 50, Issue 5–6, pp 2183–2197 | Cite as

Orbital-scale nonlinear response of East Asian summer monsoon to its potential driving forces in the late Quaternary

  • Liang YiEmail author
  • Zhengguo Shi
  • Liangcheng Tan
  • Chenglong DengEmail author


We conducted a statistical study to characterize the nonlinear response of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) to its potential forcing factors over the last 260 ka on orbital timescales. We find that both variation in solar insolation and global ice volume were responsible for the nonlinear forcing of orbital-scale monsoonal variations, accounting for ~80% of the total variance. Specifically, EASM records with dominated precession variance exhibit a more sensitive response to changes in solar insolation during intervals of enhanced monsoon strength, but are less sensitive during intervals of reduced monsoon strength. In the case of global ice volume with 100-ka variance, this difference is not one of sensitivity but rather a difference in baseline conditions, such as the relative areas of land and sea which affected the land–sea thermal gradient. We therefore suggest that EASM records with dominated precession variance recorded the signal of a shift in the location of the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone, and the associated changes in the incidence of torrential rainfall; while for proxies with dominated 100-ka variance, it recorded changes in the land–sea thermal gradient via its effects on non-torrential precipitation.


East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) Nonlinear response Statistical analysis Orbital timescale The late Quaternary 



We thank Drs. Junyi Ge, Ying Zhang and Xin Zhou for their discussion of an early version of this manuscript; Profs. Jan Bloemendal, Zhimin Jian and Joseph D Ortiz for their important helps and discussion; and three anonymous reviewers for their suggestion and comments in improving this manuscript. The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC 41690112 and 41402153) and National Programme on Global Change and Air–Sea Interaction of China (GASI-GEOGE-04). L.T. acknowledges further support from the NSFC (41290254). Part of this work was completed while the lead author conducted a post-doc at Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Department of Geology, Kent State University.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 565 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Marine GeologyTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXi’anChina
  3. 3.CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Lithospheric Evolution, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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