Senckenberg Research

South China Sea

The aim of this project is to study the interaction between the position and strength of the Westerlies and the summer monsoon precipitation in the East Asian region during the Holocene. The link between regional monsoon strength and the position of the Westerlies in Asia is of crucial importance for the distribution of precipitation in East Asia. It will be tested whether long-lasting phases of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) can cause tipping points in the East Asian monsoon climate by a long-term shift of the Westerlies. For this purpose, high-resolution sedimentary archives from already existing drill cores covering the Holocene in the East Asian monsoon area from the Pearl River estuary and the adjacent upper continental slope of the northern South China Sea will be investigated to identify periods and times of strong climate changes in the Westerly and Monsoon system of Asia.

For this purpose, a combined approach of trace element (Mg/Ca) and stable oxygen isotope measurements (δ18O) on planktic foraminifers are used in order to reconstruct, in particular, the salinity of the surface water in the mouth of the Pearl River and thus also changes in the East Asian summer monsoon. In addition, isotope analyzes (δD, δ13C on n-alkanes) of plant waxes can be used for precipitation and vegetation reconstruction in order to decipher hydrological changes in the catchment area of the Pearl River. 14C studies will provide a detailed age model.