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A two-million-year-long hydroclimatic context for hominin evolution in southeastern Africa [Nature]

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

The past two million years of eastern African climate variability is currently poorly constrained, despite interest in understanding its assumed role in early human evolution. Rare palaeoclimate records from northeastern Africa suggest progressively drier conditions or a stable hydroclimate. By contrast, records from Lake Malawi in tropical southeastern Africa reveal a trend of a progressively wetter climate over the past 1.3 million years. The climatic forcings that controlled these past hydrological changes are also a matter of debate. Some studies suggest a dominant local insolation forcing on hydrological changes, whereas others infer a potential influence of sea surface temperature changes in the Indian Ocean. Here we show that the hydroclimate in southeastern Africa (20–25° S) is controlled by interplay between low-latitude insolation forcing (precession and eccentricity) and changes in ice volume at high latitudes.(...)

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