Anthropogenic Aerosols Cause Recent Pronounced Weakening of Asian Summer Monsoon Relative to Last Four Centuries

Yu Liu, Wenju Cai, Changfeng Sun, Huiming Song, Kim M. Cobb, Jianping Li, Steven W. Leavitt, Lixin Wu, Qiufang Cai, Ruoshi Liu, Benjamin Ng, Paolo Cherubini, Ulf Büntgen, Yi Song, Guojian Wang, Ying Lei, Libin Yan, Qiang Li, Yongyong Ma, Congxi FangJunyan Sun, Xuxiang Li, Deliang Chen, Hans W. Linderholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The Asian Summer Monsoon (ASM) affects ecosystems, biodiversity, and food security of billions of people. In recent decades, ASM strength (as represented by precipitation) has been decreasing, but instrumental measurements span only a short period of time. The initiation and the dynamics of the recent trend are unclear. Here for the first time, we use an ensemble of 10 tree ring-width chronologies from the west-central margin of ASM to reconstruct detail of ASM variability back to 1566 CE. The reconstruction captures weak/strong ASM events and also reflects major locust plagues. Notably, we found an unprecedented 80-year trend of decreasing ASM strength within the context of the 448-year reconstruction, which is contrary to what is expected from greenhouse warming. Our coupled climate model shows that increasing anthropogenic sulfate aerosol emissions over the Northern Hemisphere could be the dominant factor contributing to the ASM decrease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5469-5479
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 28 2019


  • Asian Summer Monsoon
  • anthropogenic aerosol
  • precipitation reconstruction
  • tree ring chronology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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