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Climate variability in central China over the last 1270 years revealed by high-resolution stalagmite records

Paulsen, D.E., Li, H.-C. and Ku, T.-L. 2003; Quaternary Science Reviews 22: 691-701


Oxygen and carbon isotopic variations in the upper section of a stalagmite (SF-1) from Buddha Cave (33°40′N 109°05′E) dated by 230Th/234U 210Pb and lamination counting to a time resolution as fine as 1–3 years have recorded climate changes in central China for the last 1270 years. The changes include those corresponding to the Medieval Warm Period Little Ice Age and 20th-century warming lending support to the global extent of these events. The isotopic records also show cycles of 33, 22, 11, 9.6, and 7.2 years. The 33-year cycle could well represent the not, vert, similar35-year periodicity of climate fluctuations previously recognized in China and Europe. Cycles of 22, 11, and 9.6 years have often been associated with the Sunspot or lunar-orbit variations. The 7.2-year cycle was recently identified also in tree-ring records from an area close to Buddha Cave. These cycles suggest that external forcing (e.g. solar irradiance) may affect the summer monsoon over eastern China. The general consistency between the climate characteristics inferred from the stable isotope records of SF-1 and those from other proxy records underscores the value of stalagmites as recorders of paleoclimate.