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Coupled Thermal and Hydrological Evolution of Tropical Africa over the Last Deglaciation

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Science  23 Mar 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5819, pp. 1701-1704
DOI: 10.1126/science.1138131

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Abstract

We analyzed the distribution of branched tetraether membrane lipids derived from soil bacteria in a marine sediment record that was recovered close to the Congo River outflow, and the results enabled us to reconstruct large-scale continental temperature changes in tropical Africa that span the past 25,000 years. Tropical African temperatures gradually increased from ∼21° to 25°C over the last deglaciation, which is a larger warming than estimated for the tropical Atlantic Ocean. A direct comparison with sea-surface temperature estimates from the same core revealed that the land-sea temperature difference was, through the thermal pressure gradient, an important control on central African precipitation patterns.

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