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High regional climate sensitivity over continental China constrained by glacial-recent changes in temperature and the hydrological cycle

Eagle, Robert A. and Risi, Camille and Mitchell, Jonathan L. and Eiler, John M. and Seibt, Ulrike and Neelin, J. David and Li, Gaojun and Tripati, Aradhna K. (2013) High regional climate sensitivity over continental China constrained by glacial-recent changes in temperature and the hydrological cycle. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110 (22). pp. 8813-8818. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC3670372. doi:10.1073/pnas.1213366110.

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The East Asian monsoon is one of Earth’s most significant climatic phenomena, and numerous paleoclimate archives have revealed that it exhibits variations on orbital and suborbital time scales. Quantitative constraints on the climate changes associated with these past variations are limited, yet are needed to constrain sensitivity of the region to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Here, we show central China is a region that experienced a much larger temperature change since the Last Glacial Maximum than typically simulated by climate models. We applied clumped isotope thermometry to carbonates from the central Chinese Loess Plateau to reconstruct temperature and water isotope shifts from the Last Glacial Maximum to present. We find a summertime temperature change of 6–7 °C that is reproduced by climate model simulations presented here. Proxy data reveal evidence for a shift to lighter isotopic composition of meteoric waters in glacial times, which is also captured by our model. Analysis of model outputs suggests that glacial cooling over continental China is significantly amplified by the influence of stationary waves, which, in turn, are enhanced by continental ice sheets. These results not only support high regional climate sensitivity in Central China but highlight the fundamental role of planetary-scale atmospheric dynamics in the sensitivity of regional climates to continental glaciation, changing greenhouse gas levels, and insolation.

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Risi, Camille0000-0002-8267-453X
Neelin, J. David0000-0001-9414-9962
Additional Information:© 2013 National Academy of Sciences. Edited by Thure E. Cerling, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, and approved April 18, 2013 (received for review August 2, 2012). Published online before print May 13, 2013. We thank D. Battisti, M. Berkelhammer, J.-E. Lee, A. LeGrande, F. Pausata, and C. Yapp for valuable discussions during the formulation of this paper. We thank J. Canet, M. Enriquez, and J. Meyerson (University of California, Los Angeles) for the extraction of Climate Station and PMIP2 model data, and D. Pittman for supervising the data extraction. We acknowledge the international modeling groups participating in the PMIP2 for providing their results for analysis, and the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l’Environnement (LSCE) for collecting and archiving the model results. We also thank N. Thiagarajan for provision of a compilation of speleothem isotope data. This work was funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant EAR- 0949191 (to A.K.T.) as well as by NSF Grants EAR-0909194 and EAR-1024929 (to J.M.E.). J.D.N. was supported by NSF Grant AGS-1102838. This work was also supported by National Aeronautics and Space Administration Grant 07-NEWS07-0020 (to D. Noone, which supported C.R.). Author contributions: R.A.E., C.R., and A.K.T. designed research; R.A.E., C.R., and A.K.T. performed research; G.L. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; R.A.E., C.R., J.L.M., J.M.E., U.S., and J.D.N. analyzed data; and R.A.E. wrote the paper.
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Issue or Number:22
PubMed Central ID:PMC3670372
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130717-154642941
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:39425
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Jul 2013 23:55
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:44

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