Isotope reconstructions of East Asian Monsoon behaviour across Glacial Terminations I and II from Lake Suigetsu, Japan (IAP2−18−54)

Rex, Charlotte Lucy (2024) Isotope reconstructions of East Asian Monsoon behaviour across Glacial Terminations I and II from Lake Suigetsu, Japan (IAP2−18−54). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Understanding the response of the East Asian Monsoon to rising temperatures is crucial in light of recent anthropogenic climate change and the vulnerability of East Asia to future climatic hazards. However, East Asian Monsoon dynamics during warming periods in the late Quaternary are poorly understood, particularly on decadal to millennial timescales. Significant sources of this uncertainty are the spatially and temporally heterogeneous responses of the East Asian Monsoon to submillennial temperature fluctuations. The conflicting patterns observed in available reconstructions of East Asian Monsoon strength suggest that the teleconnections acting during these intervals were complex. Understanding the behaviours of the East Asian Monsoon by accounting for links to remote climatic perturbations allows for a more holistic understanding of deglacial climate changes.

A means of tackling this ambiguity is by contributing well−dated, high−resolution records of East Asian Monsoon evolution spanning Glacial Terminations I and II (which typify accessible, contrasting examples of rapid global warming) to the growing network of reconstructions from across the region. The aim of this thesis is to deconvolve East Asian Monsoon evolution during the last two glacial terminations by utilising the unique hydrological distribution of East Asian Monsoon precipitation over Japan to reconstruct both seasonal modes of the system (i.e., the East Asian Winter Monsoon and East Asian Summer Monsoon). This aim is met by the construction of isotope−based, season−specific East Asian Monsoon records across Glacial Terminations I and II using materials from the Lake Suigetsu sediment cores.

This thesis is comprised of four interconnected research papers, preceded by an introduction and succeeded by a summary of findings, discussion of relevance, suggestions for future work and conclusions. In the first research paper, we utilise extended contemporary monitoring of the stable isotope composition of precipitation, river water and lake water in the Lake Suigetsu catchment to understand the factors affecting these variables and aid robust interpretation of isotope−based proxy reconstructions from the Lake Suigetsu sediment cores. Our results show that the composition of precipitation was influenced by the dual East Asian Monsoon system, and that these signals were then transferred to the lake system where they were combined with secondary local influences on lake water composition. Based on our knowledge of late Quaternary catchment dynamics, these observations suggest that the palaeo−isotope composition of Lake Suigetsu was closely related to the East Asian Monsoon.

In the second research paper, we examine the influence of remote climatic processes on the East Asian Winter Monsoon and East Asian Summer Monsoon in Japan during Glacial Termination I by reconstructing trends in the strength of each seasonal mode. This is achieved using oxygen isotope analysis of diatom silica and compound−specific hydrogen isotope analysis of n−alkanoic acids from the Lake Suigetsu sediment cores. Our results support distinctive seasonal behaviours of the East Asian Monsoon during Glacial Termination I, with evidence for East Asian Winter Monsoon weakening and East Asian Summer Monsoon strengthening. The East Asian Summer Monsoon also exhibited variations in strength which were synchronous with Antarctic temperature fluctuations after 16,000 years ago, which supports a temporally restricted climatic link between Japan and the Southern Hemisphere at this time.

In the third research paper, we reconstruct the East Asian Summer Monsoon in Japan during Glacial Termination II, and contrast the findings to those from Glacial Termination I. The reconstruction presented in this chapter, which is based on compound−specific hydrogen isotope analysis of n−alkanoic acids, provides evidence for early East Asian Summer Monsoon strengthening followed by a gradual weakening phase with submillennial−scale variability. Comparison of this record to others derived from mainland China supports the assertion that East Asian Summer Monsoon behaviours during Glacial Termination II were spatially heterogenous. Additionally, the different evolutions of the East Asian Summer Monsoon during Glacial Terminations I and II indicate that the system operated distinctively under contrasting boundary conditions, although the new reconstructions from Japan were consistently more closely linked with Southern Hemisphere (Antarctic) temperatures than Northern Hemisphere (Greenlandic) temperatures during both intervals.

The fourth research paper was motivated by a lack of an absolute chronology for the oldest (pre−50,000 years ago) parts of the Lake Suigetsu sediment cores (which includes Glacial Termination II). In this paper, we appraise the luminescence characteristics of the cores using rapid profiling techniques. These are employed across four key time periods in order to assess the application of these methods for the detection of local and environmental shifts, and to assess the suitability of the core materials for luminescence dating. We show that the luminescence characteristics of the cores were susceptible to a range of environmental perturbations, best illustrating local changes by using high−resolution contiguous sampling. The feasibility of future luminescence dating is supported by quantifiable luminescence signals, and first order approximate ages suggest that blue light optically stimulated luminescence dating of feldspar provides the most accurate and most practical assessment of burial age. This technique should be the subject of dating efforts in pursuit of refinements to the Suigetsu core chronology before 50,000 years ago.

The findings of this thesis contribute to our collective knowledge of East Asian Monsoon behaviours during glacial terminations. Critically, they represent a geographical expansion of the regional high−resolution record network to include Japan. The value of this process is demonstrated by the decoupled evolutions of each seasonal mode during Glacial Termination I, and a remote link between Antarctic temperatures and East Asian Summer Monsoon evolution in Japan during Glacial Terminations I and II, which were hitherto unconstrained by high resolution analysis. These findings acknowledge and begin to rationalise spatial and temporal heterogeneities in East Asian Monsoon behaviours by comparison to other records. This work highlights the complexity of the East Asian Monsoon, and the value of long records from contrasting deglacial periods for a better comprehension of this system in the context of anthropogenic climate change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Q Science > QE Geology
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Supervisor's Name: Staff, Dr. Richard, Toney, Professor Jaimie, Leng, Professor Melanie and Pearson, Dr. Emma
Date of Award: 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2024-84032
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2024 16:41
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 16:41
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/84032
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