Strong coupling of centennial-scale changes of Asian monsoon and soil processes derived from stalagmite δ18O and δ13C records, southern China

Dianbing Liu, Yongjin Wang, Hai Cheng, R. Lawrence Edwards, Xinggong Kong, Ting Yong Li

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16 Scopus citations


The paleoclimate application of speleothem δ13C is influenced by site-specific processes. Here we present four stalagmite δ13C records from two caves in southern China, covering early and late Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 and the Holocene, to investigate the spatio-temporal pattern of calcite δ13C changes and the relationship with Asian monsoon (AM) variability. In each growth period, precessional- to millennial-scale changes are clear in the δ18O record. In contrast, millennial variability is absent in the δ13C record, which characterizes persistent centennial oscillations. However, centennial-scale δ18O variations agree well with those of δ13C, with a larger amplitude in δ13C changes (about twice that of δ18O). This suggests that soil humidity balance associated with regional hydrological circulations is important for these centennial δ13C changes, although evaporation-related kinetic fractionation can induce concurrent enrichments in δ18O and δ13C. In frequency, the detrended δ18O and δ13C records are coupled at a periodicity of about 300 yr during the last glacial period and 150 yr during the Holocene. Those centennial-scale δ13C variations are generally consistent with Greenland temperature variability, indicating a climate response over broad regions. Thus, strong co-variation of δ18O and δ13C records should have a climatic origin, even if it is amplified by kinetic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-346
Number of pages14
JournalQuaternary Research (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Centennial-scale AM variability
  • Soil processes
  • Speleothem δC
  • Wulu and Dongge caves

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