End of Green Sahara amplified mid- to late Holocene megadroughts in mainland Southeast Asia

Griffiths, Michael L., Johnson, Kathleen R., Pausata, Francesco S. R., White, Joyce C., Henderson, Gideon M., Wood, Christopher T., Yang, Hongying, Ersek, Vasile, Conrad, Cyler and Sekhon, Natasha (2020) End of Green Sahara amplified mid- to late Holocene megadroughts in mainland Southeast Asia. Nature Communications, 11 (1). p. 4204. ISSN 2041-1723

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17927-6

Abstract

Between 5 and 4 thousand years ago, crippling megadroughts led to the disruption of ancient civilizations across parts of Africa and Asia, yet the extent of these climate extremes in mainland Southeast Asia (MSEA) has never been defined. This is despite archeological evidence showing a shift in human settlement patterns across the region during this period. We report evidence from stalagmite climate records indicating a major decrease of monsoon rainfall in MSEA during the mid- to late Holocene, coincident with African monsoon failure during the end of the Green Sahara. Through a set of modeling experiments, we show that reduced vegetation and increased dust loads during the Green Sahara termination shifted the Walker circulation eastward and cooled the Indian Ocean, causing a reduction in monsoon rainfall in MSEA. Our results indicate that vegetation-dust climate feedbacks from Sahara drying may have been the catalyst for societal shifts in MSEA via ocean-atmospheric teleconnections.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Atmospheric dynamics, Palaeoclimate
Subjects: F400 Forensic and Archaeological Science
F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2020 12:32
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2020 08:22
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/44192

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