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Glacial-interglacial vegetation dynamics in South Eastern Africa coupled to sea surface temperature variations in the Western Indian Ocean
Dupont, L.M.; Caley, T.; Kim, J.H.; Castañeda, I.S; Malaize, B.; Giraudeau, J. (2011). Glacial-interglacial vegetation dynamics in South Eastern Africa coupled to sea surface temperature variations in the Western Indian Ocean. Clim. Past 7(4): 1209-1224. dx.doi.org/10.5194/cp-7-1209-2011
In: Climate of the Past. Copernicus: Göttingen. ISSN 1814-9324, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Dupont, L.M.
  • Caley, T.
  • Kim, J.H., more
  • Castañeda, I.S, more
  • Malaize, B.
  • Giraudeau, J.

Abstract
    Glacial-interglacial fluctuations in the vegetation of South Africa might elucidate the climate system at the edge of the tropics between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. However, vegetation records covering a full glacial cycle have only been published from the eastern South Atlantic. We present a pollen record of the marine core MD96-2048 retrieved by the Marion Dufresne from the Indian Ocean similar to 120 km south of the Limpopo River mouth. The sedimentation at the site is slow and continuous. The upper 6 m (spanning the past 342 Ka) have been analysed for pollen and spores at millennial resolution. The terrestrial pollen assemblages indicate that during interglacials, the vegetation of eastern South Africa and southern Mozambique largely consisted of evergreen and deciduous forests. During glacials open mountainous scrubland dominated. Montane forest with Podocarpus extended during humid periods was favoured by strong local insolation. Correlation with the sea surface temperature record of the same core indicates that the extension of mountainous scrubland primarily depends on sea surface temperatures of the Agulhas Current. Our record corroborates terrestrial evidence of the extension of open mountainous scrubland (including fynbos-like species of the high-altitude Grassland biome) for the last glacial as well as for other glacial periods of the past 300 Ka.

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