Orbital controls on Namib Desert hydroclimate over the past 50,000 years

Type Article
Date 2019-09
Language English
Author(s) Chase Brian M.1, Niedermeyer Eva M.2, Boom Arnoud3, Carr Andrew S.3, Chevalier Manuel4, He Feng5, 6, Meadows Michael E.7, 8, Ogle Neil9, Reimer Paula J.9
Affiliation(s) 1 : Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution–Montpellier (ISEM), Université Montpellier, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), EPHE, IRD, Bâtiment 22, CC061, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier, France
2 : Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Senckenberganlage 25, D-60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
3 : School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
4 : Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, Geopolis, University of Lausanne, Quartier UNIL-Mouline, Bâtiment Géopolis, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
5 : Center for Climatic Research, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA
6 : College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA
7 : Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
8 : School of Geographical Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, People’s Republic of China
9 : School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland, UK
Source Geology (0091-7613) (Geological Society of America), 2019-09 , Vol. 47 , N. 9 , P. 867-871
DOI 10.1130/G46334.1
WOS© Times Cited 19

Despite being one of the world’s oldest deserts, and the subject of decades of research, evidence of past climate change in the Namib Desert is extremely limited. As such, there is significant debate regarding the nature and drivers of climate change in the low-latitude drylands of southwestern Africa. Here we present data from stratified accumulations of rock hyrax urine that provide the first continuous highresolution terrestrial climate record for the Namib Desert spanning the past 50,000 yr. These data, spanning multiple sites, show remarkably coherent variability that is clearly linked to orbital cycles and the evolution and perturbation of global boundary conditions. Contrary to some previous predictions of southwestern African climate change, we show that orbital-scale cycles of hydroclimatic variability in the Namib Desert region are in phase with those of the northern tropics, with increased local summer insolation coinciding with periods of increased aridity. Supported by climate model simulations, our analyses link this to variations in position and intensity of atmospheric pressure cells modulated by hemispheric and land-sea temperature gradients. We conclude that hydroclimatic variability at orbital time scales is driven by the combined influence of direct low-latitude insolation forcing and the influence of remote controls on the South Atlantic anticyclone, with attendant impacts on upwelling and sea-surface temperature variations

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Chase Brian M., Niedermeyer Eva M., Boom Arnoud, Carr Andrew S., Chevalier Manuel, He Feng, Meadows Michael E., Ogle Neil, Reimer Paula J. (2019). Orbital controls on Namib Desert hydroclimate over the past 50,000 years. Geology, 47(9), 867-871. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1130/G46334.1 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00508/61987/