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

  • Els E. van Soelen (a1), Naohiko Ohkouchi (a2), Hisami Suga (a2), Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté (a1) (a3) and Gert-Jan Reichart (a1) (a4)...


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.


Corresponding author

* Corresponding author. Present address: Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047 Blindern, 0316, Oslo, Norway. E-mail addresses:, (E.E. van Soelen)


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

  • Els E. van Soelen (a1), Naohiko Ohkouchi (a2), Hisami Suga (a2), Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté (a1) (a3) and Gert-Jan Reichart (a1) (a4)...


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