Weakening and strengthening of the Indian monsoon during Heinrich events and Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations

Gaudenz Deplazes*, Andreas Lückge, Jan Berend W. Stuut, Jürgen Pätzold, Holger Kuhlmann, Dorothée Husson, Mara Fant, Gerald H. Haug

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations and Heinrich events described in North Atlantic sediments and Greenland ice are expressed in the climate of the tropics, for example, as documented in Arabian Sea sediments. Given the strength of this teleconnection, we seek to reconstruct its range of environmental impacts. We present geochemical and sedimentological data from core SO130-289KL from the Indus submarine slope spanning the last ∼80 kyr. Elemental and grain size analyses consistently indicate that interstadials are characterized by an increased contribution of fluvial suspension from the Indus River. In contrast, stadials are characterized by an increased contribution of aeolian dust from the Arabian Peninsula. Decadal-scale shifts at climate transitions, such as onsets of interstadials, were coeval with changes in productivity-related proxies. Heinrich events stand out as especially dry and dusty events, indicating a dramatically weakened Indian summer monsoon, potentially increased winter monsoon circulation, and increased aridity on the Arabian Peninsula. This finding is consistent with other paleoclimate evidence for continental aridity in the northern tropics during these events. Our results strengthen the evidence that circum-North Atlantic temperature variations translate to hydrological shifts in the tropics, with major impacts on regional environmental conditions such as rainfall, river discharge, aeolian dust transport, and ocean margin anoxia. Key Points Intensity of Indian monsoon is traced with geochemical and grain size analyses of sediments Fluvial versus aeolian sediment input to Arabian Sea mimics DO oscillations During Heinrich events the Indian monsoon weakened distinctly

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-114
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Arabian Sea
  • Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations
  • Heinrich events
  • Indian Monsoon
  • Sediment Transport
  • XRF


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