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Large-scale atmospheric circulation influences the ice core d-excess record from the central Tibetan Plateau

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Deuterium excess (d-excess), as a secondary parameter of water stable isotopes, inherits the meteorological information from moisture source to the site of interest. Understanding the climatic implications of d-excess in ice cores from the Tibetan Plateau (TP) is critical for reconstructing the paleoclimate. Here we present an annually-dated ice core record retrieved from the central TP and analyze the correlations between the ice core d-excess record and local and regional climate variables in the past decades (1948–2011). Our results show poor correlations between d-excess and local meteorological parameters, deemphasizing the local control on the interannual variations in d-excess records. However, significant correlations exist between the d-excess record and the relative humidity over the eastern Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. In addition, our results indicate that d-excess is positively correlated with temperature in the Niño 3.4 region, demonstrating that large-scale atmospheric circulation through ENSO cycle affecting the interannual d-excess signal in ice cores from the central TP. Mechanically speaking, in annual scale, the higher (lower) temperature that occurs in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean in El Niño (La Niña) years is accompanied by the ascending branch of the Walker circulation weakening (enhancing) in the Indian Ocean region, leading to lower (higher) relative humidity value in the moisture source regions of the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, and subsequently producing higher (lower) d-excess value in the central Tibetan ice core records. This finding will enhance the understanding of the climatic significance of ice core d-excess in the Asian monsoon region.

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We thank the editors and the four anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions. The authors would like to thank the National Meteorological Center of CMA for providing the local meteorological data. We are also grateful to the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) for the provision of the RH, air temperature, pressure, sea level pressure, SST, and OLR data, to the ECMWF Public Datasets web for providing the ERA-Interim data, and to the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology for providing the SOI data. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41901077 and 41530748), Applied Basic Research Foundation of Yunnan Province (Grant No. 202001BB050033). The authors would like to thank the fieldwork team who drilled the ice core in the field. We also thank the colleagues who segment the ice core samples in the cold room.

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Correspondence to Lide Tian.

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All the data are available upon reasonable request. The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest or competing interests.

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Shao, L., Tian, L., Cai, Z. et al. Large-scale atmospheric circulation influences the ice core d-excess record from the central Tibetan Plateau. Clim Dyn 57, 1805–1816 (2021).

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