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A mid-Holocene thermal maximum at the end of the African Humid Period
Berke, M.A.; Johnson, T.C.; Werne, J.P.; Schouten, S.; Sinninghe Damsté, J.S. (2012). A mid-Holocene thermal maximum at the end of the African Humid Period. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 351: 95-104.
In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0012-821X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Author keywords
    Holocene; paleotemperature; African Humid Period; Lake Turkana

Authors  Top 
  • Berke, M.A.
  • Johnson, T.C.
  • Werne, J.P.
  • Schouten, S., more
  • Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., more

    The termination of the African Humid Period (AHP) about 5 thousand years ago (ka) was the most dramatic climate shift in northern and equatorial Africa since the end of the Pleistocene. Based on TEX86 paleotemperature data from lake Turkana, Kenya, we show that a temperature shift of 2-4 degrees C occurred over the two millennia spanning the end of the AHP, with the warmest conditions occurring at similar to 5 ka. We note a similar shift, though of a smaller magnitude, in other East African temperature records from Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika, as well as Mt. Kilimanjaro. Additionally, we document the temperature history for the last 220 years from Lake Turkana that indicates the thermal anomaly at 5 ka was warmer than the present day Lake Turkana temperatures and on par with modern temperatures of Lakes Tanganyika and Malawi. We suggest that the thermal response at the end of the AHP may be linked to local insolation during September-November, when local air temperature rises to an annual maximum over Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika and a secondary maximum over Lake Turkana and Mt Kilimanjaro. September-November insolation peaked at similar to 5 ka and likely caused air and water temperatures in the region to rise to maxima at that time.

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