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Title: Influence of Recent Climate Shifts on the Relationship Between ENSO and Asian Monsoon Precipitation Oxygen Isotope Ratios

Recent studies have revealed robust in‐phase relationships between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Asian Monsoon precipitation δ18O values (i.e., warm ENSO events with high δ18O values), and this relationship has been used in an attempt to reconstruct past ENSO activity. However, whether this relationship holds in the past is unknown. Here we use precipitation δ18O data from Hong Kong (East Asia) and Bangkok (Southeast Asia) and an ice core δ18O record from Dasuopu glacier (South Asia) to examine the δ18O‐ENSO relationship across two recent climate shifts that occurred during the winters of 1976/1977 and 1988/1989. On an annual scale, the δ18O‐ENSO relationship is weak prior to 1977 and strongest after 1988. We show that the changing δ18O‐ENSO relationship mainly originates from changes in the dry season isotope/climate relationship (which is significant only after 1988), whereas the rainy season relationship is relatively stable. We confirm that, consistent with earlier work on the rainy season, the significant δ18O‐ENSO relationship in the dry season post‐1988 is associated with ENSO's influence on regional convection (Bay of Bengal to South China Sea region). We suggest the insignificant dry season relationship prior to 1989 is due to limited ENSO impacts on convection in the Bay of Bengal to South China Sea region, which is supported by the insignificant relationship between ENSO and vertical velocity at 500 hPa. These findings suggest that without additional constraints, systematic variability in isotope/climate relationships will lead to large uncertainties in ENSO reconstructions based on Asian Monsoon region δ18O data.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 7825-7835
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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