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East Asian Monsoon Variability Since the Sixteenth Century.

Abstract

The East Asian Monsoon (EAM) impacts storms, freshwater availability, wind energy production, coal consumption, and subsequent air quality for billions of people across Asia. Despite its importance, the EAM's long-term behavior is poorly understood. Here we present an annually resolved record of EAM variance from 1584 to 1950 based on radiocarbon content in a coral from the coast of Vietnam. The coral record reveals previously undocumented centennial scale changes in EAM variance during both the summer and winter seasons, with an overall decline from 1600 to the present. Such long-term variations in monsoon variance appear to reflect independent seasonal mechanisms that are a combination of changes in continental temperature, the strength of the Siberian High, and El Niño–Southern Oscillation behavior. We conclude that the EAM is an important conduit for propagating climate signals from the tropics to higher latitudes.

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