Did the Indo-Asian summer monsoon decrease during the Holocene following insolation?

Manish Tiwari, Rengaswamy Ramesh, Ravi Bhushan, Madavalm S. Sheshshayee, Bammidipati L.K. Somayajulu, A. J.Timothy Jull, George S. Burr

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31 Scopus citations


A few studies from the western Arabian Sea indicate that the Indian summer (or southwest) monsoon (ISM), after attaining its maximum intensity at ca. 9ka, declined during the Holocene, as did insolation. In contrast, earlier and later observations from both the eastern and the western Arabian Sea do not support this inference. Analysis of multiple proxies of productivity in a new sediment core from the western Arabian Sea fails to confirm the earlier, single-proxy (e.g. abundance of Globigerina bulloides) based, inference of the Holocene weakening of ISM, following insolation. The reason for the observed decreasing trend in foraminiferal abundance - the basis for the earlier inference - could be the favouring of silicate rather than carbonate productivity by the increased ISM wind strength. Although ISM exhibits several multi-millennial scale fluctuations, there is no evidence from several multi-proxy data to conclude that it declined during the Holocene; this is consistent with the phase lag analysis of longer time series of monsoon proxies. Thus, on sub-Milankovitch timescales, ISM did not follow insolation, highlighting the importance of internal feedbacks. A comparison with East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) records suggests that both ISM and EASM varied in unison, implying common forcing factors on such longer timescales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1179-1188
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Arabian Sea
  • Foraminifera
  • Holocene
  • Monsoon
  • Productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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