Document Detail

Climatic controls on central African hydrology during the past 20,000 years.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16222296     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Past hydrological changes in Africa have been linked to various climatic processes, depending on region and timescale. Long-term precipitation changes in the regions of northern and southern Africa influenced by the monsoons are thought to have been governed by precessional variations in summer insolation. Conversely, short-term precipitation changes in the northern African tropics have been linked to North Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies, affecting the northward extension of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and its associated rainbelt. Our knowledge of large-scale hydrological changes in equatorial Africa and their forcing factors is, however, limited. Here we analyse the isotopic composition of terrigenous plant lipids, extracted from a marine sediment core close to the Congo River mouth, in order to reconstruct past central African rainfall variations and compare this record to sea surface temperature changes in the South Atlantic Ocean. We find that central African precipitation during the past 20,000 years was mainly controlled by the difference in sea surface temperatures between the tropics and subtropics of the South Atlantic Ocean, whereas we find no evidence that changes in the position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone had a significant influence on the overall moisture availability in central Africa. We conclude that changes in ocean circulation, and hence sea surface temperature patterns, were important in modulating atmospheric moisture transport onto the central African continent.
Enno Schefuss; Stefan Schouten; Ralph R Schneider
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Nature     Volume:  437     ISSN:  1476-4687     ISO Abbreviation:  Nature     Publication Date:  2005 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-10-13     Completed Date:  2005-10-27     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0410462     Medline TA:  Nature     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1003-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
DFG-Research Center Ocean Margins (RCOM) at the University of Bremen, Klagenfurter Strasse, 28359 Bremen, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Atlantic Ocean
History, Ancient
Hydrogen / metabolism
Lipids / analysis,  chemistry
Oxygen Isotopes
Plankton / chemistry,  metabolism
Plant Transpiration
Plants / chemistry,  metabolism
Seawater / analysis,  chemistry
Time Factors
Tropical Climate
Water Movements
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Lipids; 0/Oxygen Isotopes; 1333-74-0/Hydrogen

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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