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Quaternary 2018, 1(3), 29;

The Indian Summer Monsoon from a Speleothem δ18O Perspective—A Review

Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK
Institute for Geology, Mineralogy and Geophysics, Ruhr University Bochum, 44801 Bochum, Germany
Department of Earth Sciences, California State University, Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA 90747, USA
Department of Geology, Sikkim University, Sikkim 737102, India
Department of Geography, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi 110025, India
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Faculty of Geoscience, Physical Research Laboratory, Gujarat 380009, India
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Now at: Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore.
Academic Editors: Sandy P. Harrison, Laia Comas Bru and Valentí Rull
Received: 19 September 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speleothem Records and Climate)
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As one of the most prominent seasonally recurring atmospheric circulation patterns, the Asian summer monsoon (ASM) plays a vital role for the life and livelihood of about one-third of the global population. Changes in the strength and seasonality of the ASM significantly affect the ASM region, yet the drivers of change and the varied regional responses of the ASM are not well understood. In the last two decades, there were a number of studies reconstructing the ASM using stalagmite-based proxies such as oxygen isotopes (δ18O). Such reconstructions allow examination of ASM drivers and responses, increasing monsoon predictability. In this review paper, we focus on stalagmite δ18O records from India at the proximal end of the ASM region. Indian stalagmite δ18O records show well-dated, high-amplitude changes in response to the dominant drivers of the ASM on orbital to multi-centennial timescales, and indicate the magnitude of monsoon variability in response to these drivers. We examine Indian stalagmite records collated in the Speleothem Isotope Synthesis and AnaLysis version 1 (SISAL_v1) database ( and support the database with a summary of record quality and regional climatic interpretations of the δ18O record during different climate states. We highlight current debates and suggest the most useful time periods (climatic events) and locations for further work using tools such as data-model comparisons, spectral analysis methods, multi-proxy investigations, and monitoring. View Full-Text
Keywords: speleothem; oxygen isotopes; monsoon; paleoclimate; India; SISAL; Indian summer monsoon (ISM); ASM speleothem; oxygen isotopes; monsoon; paleoclimate; India; SISAL; Indian summer monsoon (ISM); ASM

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Kaushal, N.; Breitenbach, S.F.M.; Lechleitner, F.A.; Sinha, A.; Tewari, V.C.; Ahmad, S.M.; Berkelhammer, M.; Band, S.; Yadava, M.; Ramesh, R.; Henderson, G.M. The Indian Summer Monsoon from a Speleothem δ18O Perspective—A Review. Quaternary 2018, 1, 29.

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