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Asian Monsoon drought and flood intensity: testing predicted response to changes in global warmth and polar ice volume

Project Description

The Asian Monsoon (AM) is a major component of the global climate system, affecting the lives of four billion people. Chinese cave deposits suggest [1] that AM intensity is strongly influenced by orbitally forced changes in insolation but only weakly affected by glacial–interglacial cycles. Yet these climate records are too short to test for the AM intensification hypothesized in response to (i) the expansion of Northern Hemisphere glaciation (2.5 million years ago, Ma) [2] and (ii) CO2 warming in computer model predictions of the Anthropocene [3].

We will use marine drill-cores from the North Pacific Ocean and Japan Sea to develop long, well-dated, high-resolution records of: (i) fluvial sediment and continental windblown dust supply (proxy continental rainfall/aridity), (ii) ocean temperature (a strong influence on moisture supply to the continents), and (iii) continental ice volume.

This strategy allows us to study the AM under radically contrasting past global climate states: the future-relevant greenhouse conditions of the Middle Miocene Climate Optimum (~17–15 Ma) and Warm Pliocene (~4–3 Ma) and the progressively cooler, more deeply glaciated conditions of the late Pliocene intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation (~2.5 Ma), the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (~1.0 Ma) and the Last Glacial Cycle.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply


[1] Cheng, H., Edwards, R. L., Sinha, A., Spötl, C., Yi, L., Chen, S., . . . Zhang, H. (2016). The Asian monsoon over the past 640,000 years and ice age terminations. Nature, 534(7609), 640-646. doi:10.1038/nature18591

[2] Zhang, Y. G., Ji, J. F., Balsam, W., Liu, L. W., & Chen, J. (2009). Mid-Pliocene Asian monsoon intensification and the onset of Northern Hemisphere glaciation. Geology, 37(7), 599-602. doi:10.1130/G25670a.1

[3] Seth, A., Giannini, A.,Rojas, M., Rauscher, S.A., Bordoni, S., Singh, D., and Camargo, S.J., (2019) Monsoon Responses to Climate Changes—Connecting Past, Present and Future. Current Climate Change Reports 5:63–79.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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