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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-116
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 30 Aug 2018

Research article | 30 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Hydroclimatic variations in southeastern China during the 4.2 ka event reflected by stalagmite records

Haiwei Zhang1,2, Hai Cheng1,3, Yanjun Cai2,1, Christoph Spötl4, Gayatri Kathayat1, Ashish Sinha5, R. Lawrence Edwards3, and Liangcheng Tan2,1,6 Haiwei Zhang et al.
  • 1Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710054, China
  • 2Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Xi’an 710061, China
  • 3Department of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA
  • 4Institute of Geology, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck 6020, Austria
  • 5Department of Earth Science, California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, California 90747, USA
  • 6Open Studio for Oceanic-Continental Climate and Environment Changes, Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao), Qingdao 266061, China

Abstract. The collapses of several Neolithic cultures in China are considered to have been associated with abrupt climate change during the 4.2ka event (4.2–3.9kaBP). The hydroclimate of this event in the monsoonal region of China, however, is still poorly known, except for a few published stalagmite records from the lower reaches of Yangtze River. In this study, a high-resolution record of monsoon precipitation between 5.3 and 3.6kaBP based on a stalagmite from Shennong cave, Jiangxi Province, southeast China, is presented. Coherent variations in δ18O and δ13C reveal that the climate in this part of China was dominantly wet between 5.3 and 4.5kaBP and mostly dry between 4.5 and 3.6kaBP, interrupted by a wet interval (4.3–4.05kaBP). A comparison with other records from monsoonal China suggests that monsoon precipitation decreased in northern China but increased in southern China during the 4.2ka event. We propose that the weakened East Asian summer monsoon controlled by the reduced Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation resulted in this contrasting distribution of monsoon precipitation between north and south China. During the 4.2ka event the rain belt remained longer at its southern position, giving rise to a pronounced humidity gradient between northern and southern China.

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The collapses of several Neolithic cultures in China are considered to have been associated with abrupt climate change during the 4.2 ka event, however, the hydroclimate of this event in China is still poorly known. Based on stalagmite records from monsoonal China, we found that north China was dry but south China was wet during this event. We propose that the rain belt remained longer at its southern position, giving rise to a pronounced humidity gradient between north and south China.
The collapses of several Neolithic cultures in China are considered to have been associated with...
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