Mid-holocene climate change in Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana

TitleMid-holocene climate change in Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsRussell, J, Talbot, MR, Haskell, BJ
JournalQuaternary Research
Date PublishedSep
Accession NumberWOS:000185007100001

Lake Bosumtwi is one of the most widely studied palaeoclimate archives in West Africa. Results from numerous AMS C-14 dates of samples from four piston cores from Lake Bosumtwi show that an abrupt sedimentary transition from a mid-Holocene sapropel to calcareous laminated muds occurred at about 3200 cal yr B.P. High-resolution analyses of the nitrogen isotopic composition of organic matter across this transition confirm its abrupt nature, and suggest that the change may signal a step toward increased aridity and intensified surface winds that affected western equatorial Africa from Ghana to the Congo basin. Northern and Eastern Africa experienced a similar abrupt shift toward aridity during the late Holocene, but at about 5000 cal yr B.P., a difference in timing that illustrates the regional nature of climate changes during the Holocene and the importance of feedback mechanisms in regulating Holocene climate variability. Furthermore, an abrupt change at about 3000 cal yr B.P. occurs at several sites adjacent to the tropical and subtropical Atlantic, which may hint at major changes in the surface temperatures of the tropical Atlantic and/or Pacific at this time. (C) 2003 University of Washington. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.