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

by Kerstin Braun 1,2,*,†, Carole Nehme 3,4,†, Robyn Pickering 5,6,†, Mike Rogerson 7,† and Nick Scroxton 8,9,†
1
Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
2
African Centre for Coastal Paleoscience, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth 6031, South Africa
3
Department of Geography, IDEES 6266 CNRS, University of Rouen-Normandy, 76821 Mont Saint-Aignan, France
4
Analytical, Environmental & Geo-Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1050 Brussel, Belgium
5
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7701, South Africa
6
Human Evolution Research Institute, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7701, South Africa
7
School of Environmental Sciences, University of Hull, HU6 7RX Hull, UK
8
Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
9
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
All authors contributed equally and are listed alphabetically.
Quaternary 2019, 2(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2010004
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 31 December 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speleothem Records and Climate)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: speleothem; hydroclimate; monsoon; ITCZ; SISAL; oxygen isotopes speleothem; hydroclimate; monsoon; ITCZ; SISAL; oxygen isotopes
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Braun, K.; Nehme, C.; Pickering, R.; Rogerson, M.; Scroxton, N. A Window into Africa’s Past Hydroclimates: The SISAL_v1 Database Contribution. Quaternary 2019, 2, 4.

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