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A 250-Year Isotopic Proxy Rainfall Record from Southern Botswana
Studia Universitatis Babeș-Bolyai Chemia, Volume: 63, Issue: 1, Pages: 109 - 123
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Climate records along aridity gradients where manifestations of climate change are most profound are important for testing climate models. The Kalahari Transect spans such a gradient, but instrumental records of climate parameters are limited in the sparsely populated region. We analysed the δ13C an...
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Climate records along aridity gradients where manifestations of climate change are most profound are important for testing climate models. The Kalahari Transect spans such a gradient, but instrumental records of climate parameters are limited in the sparsely populated region. We analysed the δ13C and δ18O record from a Vachellia erioloba (E.Mey) tree from the southern Kalahari Desert in Botswana to explore its potential as a climate proxy archive. Radiocarbon dates show that the record spans the period 1758-2013 CE. Both the δ13C and δ18O records correlate with local rainfall. The isotope proxies show a weak positive correlation with sea-surface temperature reconstruction from the southwestern Indian Ocean, and a stronger correlation with the El Niño Southern Oscillation index. This appears to contradict previous evidence that higher sea-surface temperatures are associated with reduced summer rainfall over the southern African interior. Instead of eastward shifts in the temperate tropical trough synoptic system during elevated southwestern Indian Ocean temperature anomalies, the evidence supports a westwards shift. The result demonstrates the potential of Vachellia erioloba as a climate proxy archive that may yield past climate variability from the arid regions of southern Africa.
Open Access Article
Faculty of Science and Engineering