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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 16 Aug 2018

Research article | 16 Aug 2018

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

Timing and Structure of the 4.2 ka BP Event in the Indian Summer Monsoon Domain from an Annually-Resolved Speleothem Record from Northeast India

Gayatri Kathayat1, Hai Cheng1,2, Ashish Sinha3, Max Berkelhammer4, Haiwei Zhang1, Phengzhen Duan1, Hanying Li1, Xiangley Li1, Youfeng Ning1, and Richard Lawrence Edwards2 Gayatri Kathayat et al.
  • 1Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
  • 3Department of Earth Science, California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, USA
  • 4Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA

Abstract. A global array of proxy records suggests that the 4.2 ka event marks an ~300-year period of major climate anomaly. However, the climatic manifestation of this event, including its onset, duration, and termination, remain less clear in the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) domain. Here, we present a new speleothem oxygen isotope (δ18O) record from Mawmluh Cave, Northeast India, which provides an annually-resolved record of changes in ISM strength between ~4.440 and 3.780kaBP. Our δ18O record is constrained by 18 230Th dates with an average age uncertainty of ±13 years and a dating resolution of ~40 years, which allow us to characterize the timing and structure of the 4.2ka event with an unprecedented detail. The overall expression of the 4.2ka event in our record shares broad similarities with a previous δ18O record from the Mawmluh Cave as well as with other previous lower-resolution proxy reconstructions of the ISM. However, unlike some previous ISM records, where the 4.2ka event has been described as a singular multi-centennial period of anomalously weak ISM, our data suggest a more variable response of ISM during this period. The 4.2ka event in our record exhibits a three-stage structure, characterized by highly variable ISM between ~4.255 and 4.070kaBP and a distinct pluvial phase from ~4.070–4.010kaBP. The latter abruptly (<10 years) culminated into a relatively weaker phase of ISM, which was punctuated by a number of multidecadal periods of anomalously drier conditions. While, our record shows evidence of a discernible beginning for the 4.2ka event, there is no clear evidence of its end in thus, suggesting that the ISM experienced a major regime-shift or transition at ~4.0kaBP.

Gayatri Kathayat et al.
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Gayatri Kathayat et al.
Gayatri Kathayat et al.
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