Articles | Volume 8, issue 2
Clim. Past, 8, 841–853, 2012
Clim. Past, 8, 841–853, 2012

Research article 24 Apr 2012

Research article | 24 Apr 2012

Masked millennial-scale climate variations in South West Africa during the last glaciation

I. Hessler, L. Dupont, D. Handiani, A. Paul, U. Merkel, and G. Wefer I. Hessler et al.
  • MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany

Abstract. To address the connection between tropical African vegetation development and high-latitude climate change we present a high-resolution pollen record from ODP Site 1078 (off Angola) covering the period 50–10 ka BP. Although several tropical African vegetation and climate reconstructions indicate an impact of Heinrich Stadials (HSs) in Southern Hemisphere Africa, our vegetation record shows no response. Model simulations conducted with an Earth System Model of Intermediate Complexity including a dynamical vegetation component provide one possible explanation. Because both precipitation and evaporation increased during HSs and their effects nearly cancelled each other, there was a negligible change in moisture supply. Consequently, the resulting climatic response to HSs might have been too weak to noticeably affect the vegetation composition in the study area. Our results also show that the response to HSs in southern tropical Africa neither equals nor mirrors the response to abrupt climate change in northern Africa.