A 160,000-Year Record of Dune Development and Atmospheric Circulation in Southern Arabia

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Science  14 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5575, pp. 2018-2020
DOI: 10.1126/science.1069875

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Aeolian deposits in the Wahiba Sands, Sultanate of Oman, reveal patterns of atmospheric circulation over the past 160,000 years. Luminescence dating indicates a correlation of dune activity with periods of low global sea level and decreased monsoon intensity. Evidence from dune orientation and sedimentary structures shows exclusively northbound transport of sand during times of high- latitude glaciation. These results are in contrast to the current paleocirculation model that assumes an increase of northwesterly winds because of a southward shift of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Our results indicate that the circulation pattern during glacial times was comparable to that of the present.

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