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Nature - Scientific Reports

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Evolutions of Asian and Australian monsoons have important significance for understanding the past global change but are still a controversial subject. Here, we explore systematically the effects of plate movement and plateau uplift on the formation and evolution of the Asian and Australian monsoons by numerical simulations based on land-sea distributions and topographic conditions for five typical geological periods during the Cenozoic. Our results suggest that the timings and causes of formation of the monsoons in South Asia, East Asia and northern Australia are different. The Indian Subcontinent, which was located in the tropical Southern Hemisphere in the Paleocene, was influenced by the austral monsoon system simulated at that time. Once it moved to the tropical Northern Hemisphere in the Eocene, the South Asian monsoon established and remained persistently thereafter. However, the monsoons of East Asia and northern Australia did not appear until the Miocene. The establishment of the simulated low-latitude South Asian (northern Australian) monsoon appeared to have strongly depended on the location of mainland India (Australia), associated with northward plate motion, without much relation to the plateau uplift. On the contrary, the establishment of the mid-latitude East Asian monsoon was mainly controlled by the uplift of Tibetan plateau.