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Eight Centuries of Indian Ocean Monsoon Rainfall Data
Reference
Fleitmann, D., Burns, S.J., Neff, U., Mudelsee, M., Mangini, A. and Matter, A.  2004.  Palaeoclimatic interpretation of high-resolution oxygen isotope profiles derived from annually laminated speleothems from Southern Oman.  Quaternary Science Reviews 23: 935-945.

Background
Greenhouse gas warming simulations generally predict an increased intensity of Asian summer monsoonal circulations and, therefore, more monsoonal rainfall (Meehl and Washington, 1993; Hirakuchi and Giorgi, 1995; Li et al., 1995; Zwiers and Kharin, 1998; Chakraborty and Lal, 1994; Suppiah, 1995; Zhao and Kellog, 1988; Hulme et al., 1998; Wang, 1994).

What was done
In a study germane to this subject, Fleitmann et al. developed high-resolution stable isotope records from three contemporaneously-deposited stalagmites located in a shallow cave in Southern Oman that provide an annually-resolved record of Indian Ocean monsoon rainfall over the past 780 years.

What was learned
Over the last eight decades of the 20th century, when global temperatures rose at a rate described by climate alarmists as "unprecedented," Indian Ocean monsoon rainfall declined dramatically, in stark contrast to what has historically been predicted by most climate models.  In addition, the other single most substantial decline in monsoon rainfall coincided with a major temperature spike identified by Loehle (2004) in the temperature records of Keigwin (1996) and Holmgren et al. (1999, 2001) that began sometime in the early 1400s.  This abrupt warming, which has also been identified by McIntyre and McKitrick (2003), pushed temperatures above the peak warmth of the 20th century before they fell back to pre-spike levels in the mid-1500s, a trend that produced just the opposite trend in the monsoon rainfall record of Fleitmann et al., i.e., an initial dramatic decline in monsoon rainfall followed by a subsequent dramatic increase.

What it means
These real-world observations provide a strong double-barreled confirmation that global temperature variations elicit just the opposite variations in Indian Ocean monsoon rainfall than what is predicted by global climate models.

References
Chakraborty, B. and Lal, M.  1994.  Monsoon climate and its change in a doubled CO2 atmosphere simulated by CSIRO9 model.  TAO 5: 515-536.

Hirakuchi, H. and Giorgi, F.  1995.  Multiyear present-day and 2xCO2 simulations of monsoon climate over eastern Asia and Japan with a regional climate model nested in a general circulation model.  Journal of Geophysical Research 100: 21,105-21,125.

Holmgren, K., Karlen, W., Lauritzen, S.E., Lee-Thorp, J.A., Partridge, T.C., Piketh, S., Repinski, P., Stevenson, C., Svanered, O. and Tyson, P.D.  1999.  A 3000-year high-resolution stalagmite-based record of paleoclimate for northeastern South Africa.  The Holocene 9: 295-309.

Holmgren, K., Tyson, P.D., Moberg, A. and Svanered, O.  2001.  A preliminary 3000-year regional temperature reconstruction for South Africa.  South African Journal of Science 99: 49-51.

Hulme, M., Osborn, T.J. and Johns, T.C.  1998.  Precipitation sensitivity to global warming: Comparison of observations with HADCM2 simulations.  Geophysical Research Letters 25: 3379-3382.

Keigwin, L.D.  1996.  The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea.  Science 274: 1504-1508.

Li, X., Yang, S., Zhao, Z. and Ding, Y.  1995.  The future climate change simulation in east Asia from CGCM experiments.  Quarterly Journal of Applied Meteorology 6: 1-8.

Loehle, C.  2004.  Climate change: detection and attribution of trends from long-term geologic data.  Ecological Modelling 171: 433-450.

McIntyre, S. and McKitrick, R.  2003.  Corrections to the Mann et al. (1998) proxy data base and Northern Hemispheric average temperature series.  Energy and Environment 14: 751-771.

Meehl, G.A. and Washington, W.M.  1993.  South Asian summer monsoon variability in a model with doubled atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.  Science 260: 1101-1104.

Suppiah, R.  1995.  The Australian summer monsoon: CSIRO9 GCM simulations for 1xCO2 and 2xCO2 conditions.  Global and Planetary Change 11: 95-109.

Wang, H.  1994.  The monsoon precipitation variation in the climate change.  Acta Meteorologie Sinica 9: 48-56.

Zhao, Z. and Kellogg, W.W.  1988.  Sensitivity of soil moisture to doubling of carbon dioxide in climate model experiments, Pt. 2, Asian monsoon region.  Journal of Climate 1: 367-378.

Zwiers, F.W. and Kharin, V.V.  1998.  Changes in the extremes of the climate simulated by the CCC GCM2 under CO2 doubling.  Journal of Climate 11: 2200-2222.


Reviewed 23 June 2004