1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Telegrafenberg A31, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
2Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B, 114 19 Stockholm, Sweden
3Department of Biogeochemical Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knöll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
4Institute for Geology, Mineralogy and Geophysics, Ruhr University Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany
5Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Telegrafenberg A43, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
6Department of Physics, Humboldt University, Newtonstr. 15, 12489 Berlin, Germany
7Institute for Complex Systems and Mathematical Biology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX, UK
*formerly at: Geological Institute, Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Received: 10 Feb 2014 – Discussion started: 06 Mar 2014
Abstract. The Asian monsoon system is an important tipping element in Earth's climate with a large impact on human societies in the past and present. In light of the potentially severe impacts of present and future anthropogenic climate change on Asian hydrology, it is vital to understand the forcing mechanisms of past climatic regime shifts in the Asian monsoon domain. Here we use novel recurrence network analysis techniques for detecting episodes with pronounced non-linear changes in Holocene Asian monsoon dynamics recorded in speleothems from caves distributed throughout the major branches of the Asian monsoon system. A newly developed multi-proxy methodology explicitly considers dating uncertainties with the COPRA (COnstructing Proxy Records from Age models) approach and allows for detection of continental-scale regime shifts in the complexity of monsoon dynamics. Several epochs are characterised by non-linear regime shifts in Asian monsoon variability, including the periods around 8.5–7.9, 5.7–5.0, 4.1–3.7, and 3.0–2.4 ka BP. The timing of these regime shifts is consistent with known episodes of Holocene rapid climate change (RCC) and high-latitude Bond events. Additionally, we observe a previously rarely reported non-linear regime shift around 7.3 ka BP, a timing that matches the typical 1.0–1.5 ky return intervals of Bond events. A detailed review of previously suggested links between Holocene climatic changes in the Asian monsoon domain and the archaeological record indicates that, in addition to previously considered longer-term changes in mean monsoon intensity and other climatic parameters, regime shifts in monsoon complexity might have played an important role as drivers of migration, pronounced cultural changes, and the collapse of ancient human societies.
Revised: 01 Mar 2015 – Accepted: 02 Mar 2015 – Published: 07 May 2015
Donges, J. F., Donner, R. V., Marwan, N., Breitenbach, S. F. M., Rehfeld, K., and Kurths, J.: Non-linear regime shifts in Holocene Asian monsoon variability: potential impacts on cultural change and migratory patterns, Clim. Past, 11, 709-741, doi:10.5194/cp-11-709-2015, 2015.