Helmholtz-Zentrum Deutsches Geoforschungszentrum

Hydroclimatic variability of the Indian and Asian Monsoon systems across the trans-himalayan region over the Holocene

The temporal variability of the Indian and Asian monsoon systems penetrating through the Himalayan range and into the southern Tibetan Plateau is poorly understood. Intermittent ingress of wet monsoon air masses into the otherwise arid and deserted landscapes beyond the orographic barrier can have consequences for erosion and flooding, as well as for downstream water availability. Furthermore, the latitudinal rainfall distribution across the mountain range into the lowlands is crucial to better understand the hydrological cycles of rivers originating there.

Because instrumental measurements are rare in the High Himalayas and on the Plateau, and long-term time series are missing from the Plateau as well as the lowlands, hydro-climatic sensitive proxies and archives, such as oxygen and hydrogen stable isotope ratios in cellulose of tree-rings or lipid biomarkers from lake and peat sediments, are a valuable source of data covering decades to millennia.

With our approaches, we strive to reconstruct a record of monsoon intensity along a latitudinal gradient from the High Himalayas to the lowlands in India and China, covering the Holocene to gain insights into mechanisms of past (as well as future) changes.


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