The Asian monsoon is a regional phenomenon of global significance. It influences the lives of more than half the world’s population through the hydrological cycle and its variability over time. The Asian monsoon also has a significant impact on the condition of the oceans surrounding Asia through fresh-water discharge, nutrient input, and strong winds. This impact is especially significant in marginal seas because of their high sensitivity.
The Eastern margin of Asia is unique in that a large number of marginal seas were formed as a result of the collision of India with Eurasia at ca. 45 Ma. The collision also caused the uplift of Himalaya and Tibet, which is considered as one of the major causes of the establishment and intensification of the Asian monsoon during the Cenozoic. Thus the origins of the East Asian marginal seas and the Asian monsoon could be interrelated.
IODP has already started to conduct a series of expeditions to drill the Asian margin and marginal seas. Also recent advances in the study of Asian monsoon evolution and variability as well as uplift and erosional history of Himalaya and Tibet are significant.
The articles in this series summarize recent research findings concerning various aspects of land-ocean linkages between terrestrial climate in Asia and the oceanography of its marginal seas, with special attention to the influence of Asian monsoon evolution and variability.