Abstract

Plant leaf wax carbon isotopes provide a record of C3 versus C4 vegetation, a sensitive indicator of aridity, from the southeast African tropics since the Last Glacial Maximum. Wet and arid phases in southeast Africa were in phase with conditions in the global tropics from 23 to 11 ka, but at the start of the Holocene these relationships ended and an antiphase relationship prevailed. The abrupt switch from in phase to out of phase conditions may partially be attributed to a southward displacement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) during the last glacial. Southward displacements of the ITCZ are also linked to arid conditions in southeast Africa during the Younger Dryas and the Little Ice Age.

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