Simulation of an abrupt change in Saharan vegetation in the Mid-Holocene
Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
Copyright 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 26, Issue 14, pages 2037–2040, 15 July 1999
How to Cite
- Issue published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 MAY 1999
- Manuscript Received: 19 MAY 1999
Climate variability during the present interglacial, the Holocene, has been rather smooth in comparison with the last glacial. Nevertheless, there were some rather abrupt climate changes. One of these changes, the desertification of the Saharan and Arabian region some 4–6 thousand years ago, was presumably quite important for human society. It could have been the stimulus leading to the foundation of civilizations along the Nile, Euphrat and Tigris rivers. Here we argue that Saharan and Arabian desertification was triggered by subtle variations in the Earth's orbit which were strongly amplified by atmosphere- vegetation feedbacks in the subtropics. The timing of this transition, however, was mainly governed by a global interplay between atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, and vegetation.