Thirty thousand years of vegetation development and climate change in Angola (Ocean Drilling Program Site 1078)
- 1MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
- 2Palynology and Climate Dynamics, Albrecht-von-Haller-Inst. for Plant Sciences, Univ. of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
- 3NIOZ, Texel, The Netherlands
Abstract. ODP Site 1078 situated under the coast of Angola provides the first record of the vegetation history for Angola. The upper 11 m of the core covers the past 30 thousand years, which has been analysed palynologically in decadal to centennial resolution. Alkenone sea surface temperature estimates were analysed in centennial resolution. We studied sea surface temperatures and vegetation development during full glacial, deglacial, and interglacial conditions. During the glacial the vegetation in Angola was very open consisting of grass and heath lands, deserts and semi-deserts, which suggests a cool and dry climate. A change to warmer and more humid conditions is indicated by forest expansion starting in step with the earliest temperature rise in Antarctica, 22 thousand years ago. We infer that around the period of Heinrich Event 1, a northward excursion of the Angola Benguela Front and the Congo Air Boundary resulted in cool sea surface temperatures but rain forest remained present in the northern lowlands of Angola. Rain forest and dry forest area increase 15 thousand years ago. During the Holocene, dry forests and Miombo woodlands expanded. Also in Angola globally recognised climate changes at 8 thousand and 4 thousand years ago had an impact on the vegetation. During the past 2 thousand years, savannah vegetation became dominant.