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A late Holocene molecular hydrogen isotope record of the East Asian Summer Monsoon in Southwest Japan

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Els E. van Soelen*
Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences, Department of Earth Sciences, P.O. Box 80.021, 3508 TA, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Naohiko Ohkouchi
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), 2-15 Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka, 237-0061, Japan
Hisami Suga
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), 2-15 Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka, 237-0061, Japan
Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté
Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences, Department of Earth Sciences, P.O. Box 80.021, 3508 TA, Utrecht, The Netherlands NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB, Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands
Gert-Jan Reichart
Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences, Department of Earth Sciences, P.O. Box 80.021, 3508 TA, Utrecht, The Netherlands NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Department of Ocean Systems, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB, Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands
*Corresponding author. Present address: Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047 Blindern, 0316, Oslo, Norway. E-mail, van Soelen)


Precipitation in Japan is strongly affected by the East Asian monsoon system, resulting in wet summer conditions and relatively dry winter conditions. Few paleo-monsoon records exist from northeastern Asia, especially records showing decadal- to centennial-scale variability. Here we present a molecular hydrogen isotope (δD) record from Lake Kaiike, a small coastal lake in southwest Japan, to provide insight into monsoonal precipitation over the past two millennia. The δD record of friedelin, a terrestrial higher plant lipid, reveals three major shifts in precipitation: a decline from >-185‰ to <-190‰ at 1700 cal yr BP suggests a change to wetter conditions; values between -187.5‰ and -180‰ from 1480 to 800 cal yr BP indicate reduced precipitation; and a decline to below -195‰ after 800 cal yr BP reflects moist conditions during the Little Ice Age. These results highlight variability in the intensity of the East Asian Summer Monsoon occurring on decadal to centennial time scales. El Niño-like conditions are likely responsible for periods of high monsoon intensity, but comparison with other records in the region (northeast China and Japan) shows that contradicting patterns also exist, and so explaining these rainfall patterns is not straightforward.

Research Article
Copyright © University of Washington 2016

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