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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Staff and Governance

Core Staff

The day-to-day running of IMEMS is the responsibility of the Core Executive Committee, comprising the Director and Associate Directors and the Administrator. 

Publication details for Prof. James Baldini

Baker, A.J., Sodemann, H., Baldini, J. U. L., Breitenbach, S. F. M., Johnson, K. R., van Hunen, J. & Pingzhong, Z. (2015). Seasonality of westerly moisture transport in the East Asian Summer Monsoon and its implications for interpreting precipitation δ18O. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 120(12): 5850-5862.

Author(s) from Durham


East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) rainfall impacts the world's most populous regions. Accurate EASM rainfall prediction necessitates robust paleoclimate reconstructions from proxy data and quantitative linkage to modern climatic conditions. Many precisely dated oxygen isotope records from Chinese stalagmites have been interpreted as directly reflecting past EASM rainfall amount variability, but recent research suggests that such records instead integrate multiple hydroclimatic processes. Using a Lagrangian precipitation moisture source diagnostic, we demonstrate that EASM rainfall is primarily derived from the Indian Ocean. Conversely, Pacific Ocean moisture export peaks during winter, and the moisture uptake area does not differ significantly between summer and winter and is thus a minor contributor to monsoonal precipitation. Our results are substantiated by an accurate reproduction of summer and winter spatial rainfall distributions across China. We also correlate modern EASM rainfall oxygen isotope ratios with instrumental rainfall amount and our moisture source data. This analysis reveals that the strength of the source effect is geographically variable, and differences in atmospheric moisture transport may significantly impact the isotopic signature of EASM rainfall at the Hulu, Dongge, and Wanxiang Cave sites. These results improve our ability to isolate the rainfall amount signal in paleomonsoon reconstructions and indicate that precipitation across central and eastern China will directly respond to variability in Indian Ocean moisture supply.

Full Executive Committee

Our Full Executive Committee is made up of the Core Executive Committee, listed above, plus a number of executive members including:

International Advisory Board

We are extremely fortunate to have be able to call on the help and guidance of colleagues from around the world who help to shape and guide our direction, strategy and international reach. Our current Advisory Board members are: