Decoding the Plio-Pleistocene Indian Monsoon

Why study the ancient Indian Monsoon?

We are working to decode the history of the ancient Indian monsoon as recorded in sediments from the deep-sea, ultimately so we can better understand its stability in future decades. In the modern world the Indian monsoon (or South Asian monsoon) provides essential water supplies to over a billion people, yet its stability in the face of ongoing human-caused climate change is unknown.

Our team, with representatives from the UK, USA, Germany, France and beyond, has a particular focus on the Pliocene and early Pleistocene (~4 – 2.5 million years ago), when huge changes to global climate and polar ice volume were occurring on a planetary scale. How did the Indian monsoon react to these upheavals, and did the monsoon itself have a role in driving these processes?

At the moment our knowledge of Indian monsoon behaviour beyond the Holocene is very fragmentary and incomplete. New deep-sea sedimentary material recovered from the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea in 2014/15 by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) during Expedition 353 is revolutionising our understanding of the monsoon during the Miocene–Pleistocene. Our ongoing multi-proxy work is shedding light on the complex dynamics of the monsoon during this mysterious and important time period.

If you’d like to know more about the expedition itself, or life at sea, you can see our other blog “Deep Sea Discovery“.

  • Welcome!

    July 11, 2019 by

    This new website is intended as an introduction to our work on the Plio-Pleistocene Indian monsoon, and a place where news and updates on the various projects can be collated. As publications and conference abstracts appear we will collate them here. Our team is part of a much larger collective of international scientists affiliated with… Read more

  • Upcoming monsoon meetings

    July 16, 2019 by

    There are two great monsoon-related conferences coming up in 2020 that we’d like to flag. 1. Chapman conference on the Evolution of the Monsoon, Biosphere and Mountain Building in Cenozoic Asia5-9th Jan 2020. Washington DC, USA. 2. 36th International Geological Congress2–8 March 2020. Delhi, India Lots of monsoon-relevant sessions including: 22.1 Advances in Our Understanding… Read more

  • New Miocene “carbonate crash” paper

    July 12, 2019 by

    Colleagues working on the Miocene portion of IODP Exp. 353 cores (Site U1443), including Emmeline Gray and Clara Bolton, have found further evidence for a Miocene “carbonate crash” spanning the paleo-tropics. By combining data from stable isotope and XRF elemental analyses, this new paper sheds light on global changes in the intensity of chemical weathering… Read more

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