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Earth and Environmental Sciences pres.

Smith Lecture: The Chinese Cave Record: 640,000 years of Climate History

Larry Edwards, University of Minnesota

I will present a 640,000-year oxygen isotope record of the Asian Monsoon, spliced together from analyses of stalagmites from Hulu, Dongge, and Sanbao Caves, all situated in that portion of China currently affected by summer monsoon rainfall. I will discuss how these records were constructed, including the dating of the records, the basic characteristics of the records, and interpretation of the variability observed in the records. I will then discuss how the monsoon records correlate with ice core and marine records and the resulting implications for understanding ice-age terminations (the ends of ice-age cycles) and abrupt climate change. I will also discuss how analysis of Hulu Cave stalagmites has led to the completion (at fairly high precision) of the calibration of the radiocarbon timescale, with the Hulu analyses covering the older half of the timescale.

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