Response of tropical African and East Atlantic climates to orbital forcing over the last 1.7 Ma
Published:January 01, 2005
B. Jahn, R. R. Schneider, P.-J. Müller, B. Donner, U. Röhl, 2005. "Response of tropical African and East Atlantic climates to orbital forcing over the last 1.7 Ma", Early–Middle Pleistocene Transitions: The Land–Ocean Evidence, M.J. Head, P.L. Gibbard
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Records of organic matter accumulation, organic carbon isotopic composition and iron content covering the last 1.7 Ma are presented for the Congo Fan Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1075, and are compared with their counterparts from ODP Site 663 in the equatorial upwelling region. They are discussed with regard to variations in African precipitation and Congo River discharge and in the context of changes in trade-wind-driven marine productivity for the tropical Atlantic at periodicities typical of Milankovitch forcing. On the Congo Fan, elevated total organic carbon mass accumulation rates (TOC MAR) and Fe intensities occur predominantly during interglacial periods when the African monsoon was most intense. Band-pass filtering applied to TOC MAR shows distinct precessional variations, indicating that the African climate was largely controlled by low-latitude insolation changes. Only for the last 0.6 Ma, an interval of enhanced glacial-interglacial climate changes, is the precessional TOC MAR signal superimposed by a strong 100 ka oscillation. In contrast, variations in terrestrial iron input to the Congo Fan indicate pronounced 100 ka variance already well before global glacial-interglacial cycles increased in amplitude between 0.9 and 0.6 Ma. Obliquity cycles in the Fe signal are strongly expressed for the last 0.9 Ma. The highest amplitudes in the precessional variance of fluvial Fe input occur when amplitudes in the 100 ka oscillation were at intermediate levels and reveal a 800 ka cycle in phase shift with respect to precessional forcing. Together with a pronounced 800 ka signal in the 100 ka amplitude variations during the last 1.7 Ma, the Congo Fan iron record therefore suggests that eccentricity modulation of the low-latitude insolation directly influenced the equatorial African monsoon system and probably the weathering conditions on land. It further suggests that low-latitude precessional forcing and monsoonal response in the tropics might have played an important role for 100 ka cycles in global climate well before huge continental ice sheets existed.
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Early–Middle Pleistocene Transitions: The Land–Ocean Evidence
The Early–Middle Pleistocene transition (around 1.2 to 0.5 Ma) marks a profound shift in Earth’s climate state. Low-amplitude 41 ka climate cycles, dominating the earlier part of the Pleistocene, gave way progressively to a 100 ka rhythm of increased amplitude that characterizes our present glacial—interglacial world. This volume assesses the biotic and physical response to this transition both on land and in the oceans: indeed it examines the very nature of Quaternary climate change. Milankovitch theory, palaeoceanography using isotopes and microfossils, marine organic geochemistry, tephrochronology, the record of loess and soil deposition, terrestrial vegetationa! change, and the migration and evolution of hominins as well as other large and small mammals, are all considered. These themes combine to explore the very origins of our present biota.