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Asian monsoons in a late Eocene greenhouse world

  • The strong present-day Asian monsoons are thought to have originated between 25 and 22 million years (Myr) ago, driven by Tibetan-Himalayan uplift. However, the existence of older Asian monsoons and their response to enhanced greenhouse conditions such as those in the Eocene period (55-34Myrago) are unknown because of the paucity of well-dated records. Here we show late Eocene climate records revealing marked monsoon-like patterns in rainfall and wind south and north of the Tibetan-Himalayan orogen. This is indicated by low oxygen isotope values with strong seasonality in gastropod shells and mammal teeth from Myanmar, and by aeolian dust deposition in northwest China. Our climate simulations support modern-like Eocene monsoonal rainfall and show that a reinforced hydrological cycle responding to enhanced greenhouse conditions counterbalanced the negative effect of lower Tibetan relief on precipitation. These strong monsoons later weakened with the global shift to icehouse conditions 34 Myr ago.

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Author:A. Licht, M. van Cappelle, H. A. Abels, J. -B. Ladant, J. Trabucho-Alexandre, C. France-Lanord, Y. Donnadieu, J. Vandenberghe, T. Rigaudier, C. Lecuyer, D. Terry, R. Adriaens, A. Boura, Z. Guo, Aung Naing Soe, J. Quade, Guillaume Dupont-Nivet, J. -J. Jaeger
ISSN:0028-0836 (print)
ISSN:1476-4687 (online)
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=25219854
Parent Title (English):Nature : the international weekly journal of science
Publisher:Nature Publ. Group
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2014
Year of Completion:2014
Release Date:2017/03/27
First Page:501
Last Page:+
Funder:University of Poitiers; Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO-ALW); Marie Curie CIG [294282]; Ministry of Culture of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar; French ministry of Foreign Affairs; French ministry of Higher Education and Research; Alexander von Humboldt Foundation; Chinese Ministry of Education; National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC); Fyssen Foundation; [ANR-09-BLAN-0238-02]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert