Temperature change in subtropical southeastern Africa during the past 790,000 yr

Type Article
Date 2021-01
Language English
Author(s) Chevalier Manuel1, Chase Brian M.2, 3, Quick Lynne J.4, Dupont Lydie M.5, Johnson Thomas C.6
Affiliation(s) 1 : Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Géopolis, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
2 : Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution–Montpellier (ISEM), Université de Montpellier, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), EPHE, IRD, 34095 Montpellier, France
3 : Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town, South Lane, Upper Campus, 7701 Rondebosch, South Africa
4 : African Centre for Coastal Palaeoscience, Nelson Mandela University, 6031 Port Elizabeth, South Africa
5 : MARUM–Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Bremen 28359, Germany
6 : Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts–Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA
Source Geology (0091-7613) (Geological Society of America), 2021-01 , Vol. 49 , N. 1 , P. 71-75
DOI 10.1130/G47841.1
WOS© Times Cited 12

Across the glacial-interglacial cycles of the late Pleistocene (~700 k.y.), temperature variability at low latitudes is often considered to have been negligible compared to changes in precipitation. However, a paucity of quantified temperature records makes this difficult to reliably assess. In this study, we used the Bayesian method CREST (Climate REconstruction SofTware) to produce a 790,000 yr quantified temperature reconstruction from a marine pollen record from southeast Africa. The results reveal a strong similarity between temperature variability in subtropical Africa and global ice volume and CO2 concentrations, indicating that temperature in the region was not controlled by local insolation, but followed global trends at these time scales, with an amplitude of ~4 °C between glacial minima and interglacial maxima. The data also enabled us to make an assessment of the impact of temperature change on pollen diversity, with results showing there is no link between glacial-age temperatures/CO2 and a loss of diversity in this record.

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