Research Article

Glacial-Interglacial Indian Summer Monsoon Dynamics

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Science  05 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6043, pp. 719-723
DOI: 10.1126/science.1203752

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Abstract

The modern Indian summer monsoon (ISM) is characterized by exceptionally strong interhemispheric transport, indicating the importance of both Northern and Southern Hemisphere processes driving monsoon variability. Here, we present a high-resolution continental record from southwestern China that demonstrates the importance of interhemispheric forcing in driving ISM variability at the glacial-interglacial time scale as well. Interglacial ISM maxima are dominated by an enhanced Indian low associated with global ice volume minima. In contrast, the glacial ISM reaches a minimum, and actually begins to increase, before global ice volume reaches a maximum. We attribute this early strengthening to an increased cross-equatorial pressure gradient derived from Southern Hemisphere high-latitude cooling. This mechanism explains much of the nonorbital scale variance in the Pleistocene ISM record.

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