Inverse relation between summer and winter monsoon strength during late Holocene: continental molecular isotopic record from the Indian subcontinent
Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
The Indian monsoon shapes the livelihood of ca. 40% of world’s population. Despite dedicated efforts, comprehensive picture of monsoon variability has proved elusive largely due to the absence of long-term qualitative high-resolution record from key climatic zones and variability of monsoon with respect to various forcing mechanisms (e.g., solar insolation) and teleconnections (e.g., El Niño-Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole). In this study, high-resolution molecular (n-alkane) isotopic (δD and δ13C ratios) reconstruction of mid-late Holocene (~5.0 cal ka) climate has been undertaken using lacustrine sediments from two climatically sensitive regions; (i) Arid Banni grasslands, western India with dominant moisture source derived from Indian summer monsoon (June-September) and (ii) Semi-arid Ennamangalam lake, south India with significant fraction of rainfall received during winter period (October to December) from Northeast (NE) monsoon. The climate reconstruction from western India based on δDn-alkane values shows prevalence of intensified monsoon until ca. 3 cal ka followed by gradual decrease in the precipitation. In contrast, climate reconstruction from south India is characterized by more negative δDn-alkane (intensified precipitation) values during late Holocene (~2.5 cal ka). The compilation of paleoclimate records shows that the precipitation pattern in Banni region responded linearly to gradually changing insolation and additionally amplified by climate systems like ENSO. However, intensified monsoon in South India shows strengthened NE monsoonal precipitation during late Holocene. The spatial inhomogeneity in the palaeohydrological record can be attributed to the persistence of inverse relationship between summer and winter monsoon. In addition, strong positive correlation between δDn-alkane and δ13Cn-alkane values from both region shows that the relative abundance of C3-C4 plants in the contemporary ecosystems are governed by rainfall amount.