A Test of Climate, Sun, and Culture Relationships from an 1810-Year Chinese Cave Record

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/wang2001/fig2.jpg

The graphic above is not from this paper/abstract, nor even the same time frame, but is from this one: A High-Resolution Absolute-Dated Late Pleistocene Monsoon Record from Hulu Cave, China I posted it because it seems relevant to the discussion of the paper below. I’m not an expert on cave and isotope dating, but I thought I’d provide a mix of resources to go along.

Here is some interesting reading. From the abstract, it suggests a correlation between monsoon and medieval warm period etc. But as we often see in papers that touch the edge of skepticism, there’s the obligatory line: “The sign of the correlation between the AM and temperature switches around 1960, suggesting that anthropogenic forcing superseded natural forcing as the major driver of AM changes in the late 20th century.”

I wonder. Here is another paper along the same lines, Holocene variability of the East Asian summer monsoon from Chinese cave records: a re-assessment sans the AGW suggestion.

Here is the link to the abstract below. Unfortunately, the full paper is behind the green wall of the AAA$, even though much of the research is from public institutions. Personally I think charging for access to such papers is flat wrong.

A Test of Climate, Sun, and Culture Relationships from an 1810-Year Chinese Cave Record

Pingzhong Zhang,1 Hai Cheng,2* R. Lawrence Edwards,2 Fahu Chen,1 Yongjin Wang,3 Xunlin Yang,1 Jian Liu,4 Ming Tan,5 Xianfeng Wang,2 Jinghua Liu,1 Chunlei An,1 Zhibo Dai,1 Jing Zhou,1 Dezhong Zhang,1 Jihong Jia,1 Liya Jin,1 Kathleen R. Johnson6

A record from Wanxiang Cave, China, characterizes Asian Monsoon (AM) history over the past 1810 years. The summer monsoon correlates with solar variability, Northern Hemisphere and Chinese temperature, Alpine glacial retreat, and Chinese cultural changes. It was generally strong during Europe’s Medieval Warm Period and weak during Europe’s Little Ice Age, as well as during the final decades of the Tang, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties, all times that were characterized by popular unrest. It was strong during the first several decades of the Northern Song Dynasty, a period of increased rice cultivation and dramatic population increase. The sign of the correlation between the AM and temperature switches around 1960, suggesting that anthropogenic forcing superseded natural forcing as the major driver of AM changes in the late 20th century.

1 Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), College of Earth and Environment Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China.
2 Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
3 College of Geography Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China.
4 Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China.
5 Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China.
6 Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.

hat tip to Dave Hagen

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37 thoughts on “A Test of Climate, Sun, and Culture Relationships from an 1810-Year Chinese Cave Record

  1. Pingback: A Test of Climate, Sun, and Culture Relationships from an 1810-Year Chinese Cave Record « An Honest Climate Debate

  2. Wow, looking at that timeline, someone living during the time when we came out of the last glaciation would have witnessed something amazing. It seems that most of it happened over the course of a single century. Sea levels would have risen at least a couple of hundred feet in that time.

  3. There are some light colored spots near the perimeter of the sun at the 2:00 and 8:00 positions. Aren’t sun spots supposed to be dark? Watts up with that?

  4. Science: Rise and Fall of Chinese Dynasties Linked to Asian Monsoon
    “Clues from a stalagmite found in a Chinese cave hint that the fortunes of several Chinese dynasties may have been connected to the varying strength of the Asian Monsoon…”

    Note the word, hint, which in the specious science of AGW, means “fact.”

    “But these natural drivers appear to be giving way to human influences,…”

    Note the word, appear, again a fact in the specious science of AGW.

    “Since 1960, air pollution—mostly greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and soot particles—has become the dominant force affecting the Monsoon’s peak and weak periods. The human influence is so great that rising temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere are now correlated with a weaker, drier Monsoon—reversing a trend that stood for centuries.”

    Note that is no longer a hint or an appearance but a cold hard fact according to the specious science of AGW.

    The remainder of the article recounts the human misery caused by the rise and fall monsoons through the millennia.

    Is the stalagmite still extant or has it been removed for scientific study and thereby forever lost as a prognosticator of the rise and fall of Chinese Dynasties?

  5. The sign of the correlation between the AM and temperature switches around 1960

    Yet another paleo record showing the divergence problem. In a nutshell, after around 1960 many paleo, dendro and similar reconstructions show climate cooling, while the temperature record shows warming. Hence they diverge.

    The obvious interpretation is the global climate is in fact cooling and the warming in the temperature record is due to local and regional effects, instrument issues, etc. I find this interpretation quite persuasive.

  6. Study confirms the Medieval Warm Period and the assertion that temps were warmer then than today as well as temps and climate during the Little Ice Age.

    The Chinese are beating us at good science now too.

  7. David S (13:57:04) :
    There are some light colored spots near the perimeter of the sun at the 2:00 and 8:00 positions. Aren’t sun spots supposed to be dark? Watts up with that?
    The 2:00 position light area is the remnant [a facula] of dark spots and so is the 8:00 area, except that the spot died on the backside of the Sun. Spots are dark, but are surrounded by brighter areas.

  8. They removed the stalagmite (“we collected”) in May 2003.
    I downloaded the paper and read most of it quickly, but way too tired to get a lot out of it tonight. It appears to be an interesting proxy record with some fits and some contrasts to other proxy and modelled temperature data between 190 and 2000AD.

  9. Anthony: “Unfortunately, the full paper is behind the green wall of the AAA$, even though much of the research is from public institutions. Personally I think charging for access to such papers is flat wrong.”

    Here in Australia the Interlibrary Lending Service provides me photocopies for free. The silliness is that electronic copies should be cheaper.

  10. That usual and seemingly obligatory line yielding to AGW is so sad. It turns a work that could offer useful insights into a piece of politically correct sloppy science. If they could just remove those AGW blinders and really look at the science of what may be impacting the monsoons, I suspect they will find that it is not greenhouse gases that are at play here, but rather high levels of atmospheric particulate matter that is impacting the timing and intensity of the monsoons, particulate matter that is being emitted by the increasingly vibrant economies of India and China. It’s not the CO2 they should be worrying about, but rather all the real pollution that is being emitted that impacts directly on the health of nearby residents and indirectly impacts the well-being of all the regional residents through changes in the monsoonal pattern.

  11. Leif Svalgaard (15:17:45) :

    The 2:00 position light area is the remnant [a facula] of dark spots and so is the 8:00 area, except that the spot died on the backside of the Sun. Spots are dark, but are surrounded by brighter areas.

    From its latitude, would it be correct to assume that the “8:00 remnant” is from a SC23 sunspot?

  12. Bill Illis says

    Study confirms the Medieval Warm Period and the assertion that temps were warmer then than today

    I don’t see anywhere in the study any claim whatsoever that temps during the MWP were warmer than today.

  13. Joel (16:17:42) Whoops, someone forgot to tell the Chinese to make the MWP go away. Sloppy, sloppy.
    =====================================

  14. If carbon dioxide is the culprit, as some have proposed, the drying trend may well continue in Inner Mongolia, northern China and neighboring areas on the fringes of the monsoon’s reach.

    If, however, the culprit is man-made soot, as others have proposed, the trend could be reversed, the researchers said, by reduction of soot emissions.

    More if’s so they are now saying “if”…. I thought “it” was C02. LOL

  15. Joel (16:17:42) As I’m sure you could be aware, the point here is natural variability of climate. Now, how about proving the apparent warming of the last quarter of the last century is from CO2 and not from nature. The course of temperature this century makes it difficult to make the case. So stop with the carbon encumbering until we know enough to make a sound decision. Anything else is most likely to be the wrong thing to do.
    ===========================================

  16. Basil (16:16:33) :
    From its latitude, would it be correct to assume that the “8:00 remnant” is from a SC23 sunspot?
    Yes, and also from its magnetic signature that is still there, so SC23 ain’t quite dead yet…

  17. Joel Shore – “I don’t see anywhere in the study any claim whatsoever that temps during the MWP were warmer than today.”

    The ScienceDaily article linked above has a different graphic of the data produced by the National Science Foundation which helped fund the study. I should have said the ScienceDaily graphic shows …

  18. As a geologist, I can say that as a profession, we have a better appreciation of climate change than anyone. We know that it has always been changing, often much more dramatically than we see in recent times. As it has been changing continually through geologic time, there is no reason to suspect that what ever forcing mechanisms that are out there have suddenly disappeared. Yet, despite that indisputable fact, natural forcing mechanism are completely dismissed by the AGW crowd – no attempt what so ever to recognize this well established fact. It is a fundamental flaw in their agrument. You can’t say that CO2 is the forcing mechanism unless you can show how all other forcing mechanism effects can be separated from the total signal. It’s called separation of variables & it is a basic scientific principle that even a high school science student would know. This is also why very few geologists subscribe to the AGW theory – they have the historical record of natural climate variation burnt into their brains.

  19. My god, a paper which links climate change to solar activity and acknowledge that The Medieval Warm Period and The Little Ice Age were not limited to the North Atlantic region.
    Well, they still have to follow the AGW party line. Today apparently, trace gases such as CO2 and SO2 have replaced the Sun as the primary climate driver.
    Of course they use the IPCC urban heat island contaminated temperature reconstruction for recent temperature variations.
    Also it can’t be the Sun today, as the TSI haven’t varied much since 1960. Apparently it varied much more during the warming during the early part of the 20 th century. It must do that to fit the AGW agenda, so no proof is necessary.
    It can’t be caused by indirect solar activity variations, to say so is heresy.

    This might be of interest for you!
    I have found a similar paper which shows the same thing.
    “Century-Scale Mega-Droughts in India During the Holocene”
    This paper can be found in this collection:
    http://www.mesh.usc.edu/files/HPIM_Research_Summaries.pdf

    The data were collected from caves in India. The paper links solar activity to climate variations. This paper also shows that periods of reduction in the monsoon are linked to period with cold climate such as that during the Little Ice Age. This makes the threat of reduced food production not only a threat for lower food production in temperate regions but also a threat for food production in the high population countries of India and China during periods of colder climate.

  20. crosspatch (13:46:01) :

    And think of all the moisture released to the atmosphere at this time. I personally believe that many alpine ice sheets are 10k to 12k years old (Kilimanjaro) because they formed when the continental glaciers retreated.

  21. PearlandAggie (17:02:49) :
    does it look to you guys like there might be another SC23 spot forming just south of the solar equator?
    It is dying. It was a SC23 spot on the backside of the Sun

  22. Joel Shore said:

    I don’t see anywhere in the study any claim whatsoever that temps during the MWP were warmer than today.

    The contrived disappearance of the MWP isn’t just a discredited Michael Mann talking point; if the MWP occurred, then the entire AGW edifice comes crashing down.

    That’s why the alarmists can not admit its existence.

  23. Pingback: STAY WARM, WORLD… Roger Carr « Stay Warm, World…

  24. I have a question, no doubt already answered but as I am a noob in these things perhaps you will forgive me.

    On the SD graph, the Northern Hemisphere temps appear remarkably flat in comparison with those attributed to earlier centuries. Whats up with that?

  25. Robert Morris. you are not the only one to have noticed this. Apart from Mannian School manipulations (the Hockey Stick, etc), many reconstructions show the 20th century’s climate to be remarkably stable (uniform) compared to earlier centuries.

    Which BTW, makes the last 30 or 40 years unusual on a century scale (ie the 20th century) but not on a millenium scale.

    This reconstruction shows the very abrupt cooling around 1600 or a little earlier, which other reconstructions show as -2C to -3C in as little as a decade. Were such a cooling to occur today it would be an unimaginable worldwide disaster with crop failures and famine almost everywhere.

  26. The original paper (supplement actually) shows that the oxygen stable isotope fraction (of the CO3 in the calcite in the cave stalagmite) has a good correlation with both temperature and precipitation in the timeframe 1960-2000 and extrapolates this backwards through the seasonal layers of calcite.

    The Science Daily article (link posted by Paul (13:57:17) above) is a good summary of findings, but shows a graph that is a hybrid of several in the paper.

    As noted above the NH temperature is quite variable – more than Hockey Stick graphs. it is from another paleo reconstruction from mixed sources (A. Moberg, et al., Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data. Nature 433, 613 (2005) – link with graphic (note link to original data below abstract!)http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/moberg2005/moberg2005.html

    This in itself is notable for the absence of hockey stickiness. Both the cave data and the other proxy data agree quite well from 750AD to present and suggest Medieval Warm Period temperatures similar to present. The cave data paper does not report a temperature anomaly range; Moberg et al’s plot is +0.1 to -0.9 (deg C) approx by eye.

    In the Science paper, in addition to this graph, two other NH temperature series are used, one of which is Mann & Jones, Geophys. Res. Lett. 30, 1820
    (2003) – a hockey stick. The range of this anomaly is -0.5 to -0.1 deg. C for most of the construct and -0.1 to +0.1 since about 1900.

    They also correlate the data (as a proxy for rainfall/temperature) with Solar irradiance from 10Be and 14C records (about which I am sure Leif would have some criticism) and analyse the isotope data with a univariate spectral analysis ( in on-line supplement) finding 4 periodicities including a 10.5-year period corresponding to the Schwabe cycle of sunspot variability.

  27. I am not sure if you are aware of this, but the following web site has summaries and citations of several hundred studies which show the global reach of MWP and LIA.

    http://co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

    Pls patronize the site. They do a weekly update of a new peeer reviewed article which demonstrates the existence of MWP and LIA

  28. Interesting. Some very recent evidence suggests the Younger Dryas cooling (& NAmerican extinctions) could have been caused by a comet/meteor strike instead of the old theory of ocean current changes — look here:
    http://www.bitsofnews.com/content/view/5737/

    If so, the impact could’ve caused over a thousand yrs of iceage-like climate. One would wonder how the direct effects could last that long — atmospheric debris would have cleared out in mere decades or less. Perhaps long-lasting ocean current shifts were caused by the impact.

  29. Well, here is the thing for me … for the past 2 million years or so ice age is the normal condition. Warm interglacial periods like we are in now are the “odd” condition. Glacial periods last for 100K years. Interglacial periods about 10K years. We are nearing the end of the average interglacial duration (actually past it). So I can’t really buy the notion that something that happens once every 100K years triggers an ice age. Rather, something that happens once every 100K years brings us out of one temporarily.

    I managed to find an add-on for NASA World Wind that allows me to adjust sea levels. When sea levels were at their minimum things were much different in the Caribbean. There was a land mass between Cuba and Florida. There was much more land off the coast of Florida. There was a huge land mass in the Atlantic Southeast of Newfoundland larger than Nova Scotia.

    I am fairly convinced that while Earth’s orbital cycles appear to go in 100K year cycles, they don’t result in causing an ice age. Again, ice age is currently the NORMAL phase. Interglacial is the oddity. I don’t believe that conditions were such 12K years ago to bring us out. My gut says it is due to us living near a variable star. I suspect that we go into a deep solar minimum that results in an increase in albedo that acts as hysteresis. We go into a deep minimum, ice builds up, it causes albedo to increase and the sun goes into another minimum before Earth has completely recovered from the first … and bingo … we start the spiral downward in temperature until we have a combination of both favorable orbital dynamics AND an active sun.

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