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January 24th, 2003

Abrupt changes in Asian monsoon over last 11,000 years linked to North Atlantic climate

Anil Gupta (Indian Institute of Technology), David Anderson (INSTAAR & NOAA Paleoclimatology), and Jonathan Overpeck (U of Arizona) developed a new centennial-scale proxy record of the southwestern monsoon winds spanning the Holocene period (last ~11,000 years). The foraminifer-based record showed repeating intervals of weaker summer monsoon winds that coincide with cold periods documented in the North Atlantic region. Older records from the last ice age previously showed that the southwest monsoon exhibited abrupt changes that were closely correlated with millennial-scale climate events in the North Atlantic region. Thus, the link between these distant regions appears to be a persistent aspect of global climate on different timescales. The significance of this work lies in documenting a linkage between climate of high and low latitudes, and in revealing the amplitude of natural variability in monsoon climate. The research is published in the January 23rd issue of Nature.

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