Abrupt Shifts in Horn of Africa Hydroclimate Since the Last Glacial Maximum

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Science  10 Oct 2013:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1240411

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The timing and abruptness of the initiation and termination of the Early Holocene African Humid Period are a subject of ongoing debate, with direct consequences for our understanding of abrupt climate change, paleoenvironments, and early human cultural development. Here, we provide proxy evidence from the Horn of Africa region that documents abrupt transitions into and out of the African Humid Period in northeast Africa. Similar and generally synchronous abrupt transitions at other East African sites suggest that rapid shifts in hydroclimate are a regionally coherent feature. Our analysis suggests that the termination of the African Humid Period in the Horn of Africa occurred within centuries, underscoring the non-linearity of the region's hydroclimate.

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