The modulation of Pacific Decadal Oscillation on ENSO-East Asian summer monsoon relationship over the past half-millennium

Nguyen Xuan Hau, Masaki Sano, Takeshi Nakatsuka, Shin Hao Chen, I. Ching Chen

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Monsoon precipitation affects natural and social systems in East Asia, one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Monsoon precipitation variability is strongly influenced by El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and may be related to the phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). However, a collective understanding of the long-term PDO-ENSO-monsoon relationship remains limited because related studies are almost exclusively based on short instrumental records. Although paleoclimate proxies for PDO and ENSO are currently available, there is a lack of high-quality proxies for East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) precipitation. Moreover, the strengthening of the ENSO-EASM relationship since the 1970s has raised the question of anthropogenic impact. Reconstructing EASM precipitation is thus crucial to understanding its variability under natural and anthropogenic forcings. In this study, we addressed these challenges using tree ring oxygen isotopes of red cypress (Chamaecyparis formosensis Matsum), a long-lived endemic tree species in Taiwan. We developed an annual-resolved and well-validated EASM precipitation proxy from 1533 CE to 2011 which explained 49 % of the variance in instrumental precipitation. In comparison with multiple paleoclimate proxies, we revealed that PDO persistently modulated the ENSO-EASM relationship over the past half-millennium. The ENSO-EASM relationship was enhanced during the positive PDO phases and dynamically weakened during the negative PDO phases, notably in the early-17th, 18th, and early to mid-20th centuries. The strengthened relationship since the 1970s concurred with an unusually high PDO and ENSO and fell within its natural variability. Nevertheless, as the amplitude of the PDO is predicted to weaken under warming, the modulation effects may become less predictable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number159437
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan 20

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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