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Half-precessional climate forcing of Indian Ocean monsoon dynamics on the East African equator
Verschuren, D.; Sinninghe Damsté, J.S.; Moernaut, J.; Kristen, I.; Fagot, M.; Blaauw, M.; Haug, G. H. ; CHALLACEA project members (2008). Half-precessional climate forcing of Indian Ocean monsoon dynamics on the East African equator. Eos, Trans. (Wash. D.C.) 89(53): PP41B-1450
In: Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union. American Geophysical Union: Washington. ISSN 0096-3941; e-ISSN 2324-9250, more

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Document type: Conference paper

Authors  Top 
  • Verschuren, D., more
  • Sinninghe Damsté, J.S.
  • Moernaut, J., more
  • Kristen, I.
  • Fagot, M., more
  • Blaauw, M.
  • Haug, G. H.
  • CHALLACEA project members

    The EuroCLIMATE project CHALLACEA produced a detailed multi-proxy reconstruction of the climate history of equatorial East Africa, based on the sediment record of Lake Challa, a 4.2 km2, 92-m deep crater lake on the lower East slope of Mt. Kilimanjaro (Kenya/Tanzania). Relatively stable sedimentation dynamics over the past 25,000 years resulted in a unique combination of high temporal resolution, excellent radiometric (210Pb, 14C) age control, and confidence that recording parameters of the climatic proxy signals extracted from the sediment have remained constant through time. The equatorial (3 deg. S) location of our study site in East Africa, where seasonal migration of convective activity spans the widest latitude range worldwide, produced unique information on how varying rainfall contributions from the northeasterly and southeasterly Indian Ocean monsoons shaped regional climate history. The Challa proxy records for temperature (TEX86) and moisture balance (reflection-seismic stratigraphy and the BIT index of soil bacterial input) uniquely weave together tropical climate variability at orbital and shorter time scales. The temporal pattern of reconstructed moisture balance bears the clear signature of half- precessional insolation forcing of Indian Ocean monsoon dynamics, modified by northern-latitude influence on moisture-balance variation at millennial and century time scales. During peak glacial time (but not immediately before) and the Younger Dryas, NH ice sheet influences overrode local insolation influence on monsoon intensity. After the NH ice sheets had melted and a relatively stable interglacial temperature regime developed, precession-driven summer insolation became the dominant determinant of regional moisture balance, with anti-phased patterns of Holocene hydrological change in the northern and southern (sub)tropics, and a uniquely hybrid pattern on the East African equator. In the last 2-3000 years a series of multi-century droughts with links to high latitude climate variability exerted widespread influence across the African continent. In northern and western tropical Africa these drought episodes accentuated the late- Holocene drying trend; in southern tropical Africa they mitigated or aborted the trend to increasing monsoon rainfall prescribed by SH insolation forcing.

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