A Window into Africa’s Past Hydroclimates: The SISAL_v1 Database Contribution

Braun, Kerstin, Nehme, Carole, Pickering, Robyn, Rogerson, Michael and Scroxton, Nick (2019) A Window into Africa’s Past Hydroclimates: The SISAL_v1 Database Contribution. Quaternary, 2 (1). p. 4. ISSN 2571-550X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2010004


Africa spans the hemispheres from temperate region to temperate region and has a long history of hominin evolution. Although the number of Quaternary palaeoclimatic records from the continent is increasing, much of the history of spatial and temporal climatic variability is still debated. Speleothems, as archives of terrestrial hydroclimate variability, can help reveal this history. Here we review the progress made to date, with a focus on the first version of the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and AnaLysis (SISAL) database. The geology of Africa has limited development of large karst regions to four areas: along the northern coast bordering the Mediterranean, eastern Africa and the Horn of Africa, southwestern Africa and southern Africa. Exploitation of the speleothem palaeoclimate archives in these regions is uneven, with long histories of research, e.g., in South Africa, but large areas with no investigations such as West Africa. Consequently, the evidence of past climate change reviewed here is irregularly sampled in both time and space. Nevertheless, we show evidence of migration of the monsoon belt, with enhanced rainfall during interglacials observed in northeast Africa, southern Arabia and the northern part of southern Africa. Evidence from eastern Africa indicates significant decadal and centennial scale rainfall variability. In northwestern and southern Africa, precession and eccentricity influence speleothem growth, largely through changing synoptic storm activity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: SISAL is a working group of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) programme, and we thank PAGES for their support for this initiative. We would like to especially thank the SISAL members and our speleo-colleagues for contributing their published data to the database and providing additional information when necessary. Specifically, we wish to thank Andy Baker for assisting with the Ethiopia stalagmite section and Jessica von der Meden for accessing some obscure South African literature. We thank the World Karst Aquifer Mapping project (WOKAM) team for providing us with the karst region map presented in Figure 1, and Laia Comas Bru for the background for Figure 1. Thanks also to Sandy Harrison and Laia Comas Bru for their editorial handling and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive and useful comments.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hydroclimate, ITCZ, Monsoon, Oxygen isotopes, SISAL, Speleothem
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
F900 Others in Physical Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 18 May 2021 09:58
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 16:18
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/46195

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