CR 53:1-12 (2012)  -  doi:10.3354/cr01090

Atmospheric circulation change in the central Himalayas indicated by a high-resolution ice core deuterium excess record

Hongxi Pang1, Shugui Hou1,2,*, Susan Kaspari3, Paul Mayewski4, Douglas Introne4, Valérie Masson-Delmotte5, Jean Jouzel5, Zhenchao Li2, Yuanqing He2, Sungmin Hong6, Dahe Qin2

1Key Laboratory of Coast and Island development of Ministry of Education, School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
2State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
3Department of Geological Sciences, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington 98926, USA
4Climate Change Institute and Department of Earth Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469, USA
5IPSL/Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE), CEA/CNRS/UVSO, CEA Saclay,
91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
6Department of Ocean Sciences, College of Natural Science, Inha University, 253, Yonghyun-dong, Nam-gu, Incheon 402-751, Korea
*Corresponding author: Email:

ABSTRACT: Continuous measurements of both δD and δ18O were performed along a 108.8 m ice core recovered from the East Rongbuk Glacier on the northeast saddle of Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) (28.03°N, 86.96°E, 6518 m above sea level) in September 2002. They provide the first high-resolution historical record of deuterium excess (d) in the central Himalayas. In this paper, we focus on d variability from 1951 to 2001 and its relationship with large scale atmospheric circulation. The d record exhibits significant seasonal variations, with low values in summer and high values in winter, reflecting the atmospheric circulation shift between winter westerlies and the Indian summer monsoon (ISM). The interannual d variation is primarily controlled by the ISM moisture transport. An abnormally high d value during the period 1960–1964 is linked with the strengthening of winter westerlies, while an anomalously low d value during the period 1965–1968 is primarily a result of the migration of the ISM moisture source region, and secondly of surface sublimation. The results show that the ice-core d record retrieved from the high Himalayas is a good proxy for changes in atmospheric circulation.

KEY WORDS: Himalayas · Ice core · Deuterium excess · Atmospheric circulation

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Cite this article as: Pang H, Hou S, Kaspari S, Mayewski P and others (2012) Atmospheric circulation change in the central Himalayas indicated by a high-resolution ice core deuterium excess record. Clim Res 53:1-12

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