The magnetic susceptibility of loess and paleosols in central China represents a proxy climate index closely related to past changes of precipitation and vegetation, and thus to summer monsoon intensity. Time series of magnetic susceptibility constructed for three loess-paleosol sequences in the southern part of the Chinese Loess Plateau document the history of summer monsoon variation during the last 130,000 yr. They correlate closely with the oxygen isotope record of stages 1 to 5 in deep-sea sediments. Soils were forming during intervals of strong summer monsoon, whereas loess units were deposited at times of reduced monsoon intensity. The Chinese loess-paleosol sequence can thus be viewed as a proxy record of Asian monsoon variability extending over the last 2.5 myr.
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