Local and Regional Indian Summer Monsoon Precipitation Dynamics During Termination II and the Last Interglacial

Matthias Magiera, Franziska A. Lechleitner, Andrea M. Erhardt, Adam Hartland, Ola Kwiecien, Hai Cheng, Harold J. Bradbury, Alexandra V. Turchyn, Sylvia Riechelmann, Lawrence Edwards, Sebastian F.M. Breitenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


To date Indian summer monsoon (ISM) dynamics have been assessed by changes in stalagmite δ18O. However, stalagmite δ18O is influenced by multiple environmental factors (e.g., atmospheric moisture transport, rainfall amount at the study site, and ISM seasonality), precluding simple and clear reconstructions of rainfall amount or variability. This study aims to disentangle these environmental factors by combining δ18O, δ44Ca, and elemental data from a stalagmite covering Termination II and the last interglacial from Mawmluh Cave, NE India, to produce a semiquantitative reconstruction of past ISM rainfall. We interpret δ18O as a mixed signal of rainfall source dynamics and rainfall amount and coupled δ44Ca and X/Ca ratios as indicators of local infiltration rate and prior calcite precipitation in the karst zone. The wettest conditions in our studied interval (135 and 100 kyrs BP; BP = before present, with the present being 1950 CE) occurred during Marine Isotope Stage 5e. Our multiproxy data set suggests a likely change in seasonal distribution of Marine Isotope Stage 5e rainfall compared to the Holocene; the wet season was longer with higher-than-modern dry season rainfall. Using the last interglacial as an analogue for future anthropogenic warming, our data suggest a more erratic ISM behavior in a warmer world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12454-12463
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 16 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2019. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • Indian summer monsoon
  • Marine Isotope Stage 5e
  • Termination II
  • dry season rainfall
  • seasonality
  • speleothem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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