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Increasing Australian-Indonesian monsoon rainfall linked to early Holocene sea-level rise


Liang Luar Cave, Flores, Indonesia

Increasing Australian-Indonesian monsoon rainfall linked to early Holocene sea-level rise

Nature GeoScience
Vol. 2, No. 9, pp. 636-639, September 2009
doi:10.1038/ngeo605

M. L. Griffiths1, R. N. Drysdale1, M. K. Gagan2, J.-x. Zhao3, L. K. Ayliffe2, J. C. Hellstrom4, W. S. Hantoro5, S. Frisia1, Y.-x. Feng3, I. Cartwright6, E. St. Pierre3, M. J. Fischer7 and B.W. Suwargadi5
1Environmental and Climate Change Group, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New SouthWales 2308, Australia
2Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200, Australia
3Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
4School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 2010, Australia
5Research and Development Center for Geotechnology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Bandung, 40135, Indonesia
6School of Geosciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia
7Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, PMB1, Menai, New South Wales 2234, Australia
ABSTRACT:
The Australian-Indonesian summer monsoon affects rainfall variability and hence terrestrial productivity in the densely populated tropical Indo-Pacific region. It has been proposed that the main control of summer monsoon precipitation on millennial timescales is local insolation, but unravelling the mechanisms that have influenced monsoon variability and teleconnections has proven difficult, owing to the lack of high-resolution records of past monsoon behaviour. Here we present a precisely dated reconstruction of monsoon rainfall over the past 12,000 years, based on oxygen isotope measurements from two stalagmites collected in southeast Indonesia. We show that the summer monsoon precipitation increased during the Younger Dryas cooling event, when Atlantic meridional overturning circulation was relatively weak. Monsoon precipitation intensified even more rapidly from 11,000 to 7,000 years ago, when the Indonesian continental shelf was flooded by global sea-level rise. We suggest that the intensification during the Younger Dryas cooling was caused by enhanced winter monsoon outflow from Asia and a related southward migration of the intertropical convergence zone. However, the early Holocene intensification of monsoon precipitation was driven by sea-level rise, which increased the supply of moisture to the Indonesian archipelago.
Download data from the WDC Paleo archive:
Liang Luar Cave, Indonesia Stalagmite δ18O Data, Text or Excel format.

To read or view the full study, please visit the Nature GeoScience website.
It was published in Nature GeoScience, Vol. 2, No. 9, pp. 636-639, September 2009
doi:10.1038/ngeo605

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