Abstract

Pleistocene climates in the southern half of Africa are indicated by evidence of lakes in regions now dry, ancient soils for whose development the climate is now too dry or too wet, inactive wind-blown sand now covered by vegetation, and signs of former glaciation. Such features indicate climates different from those now prevailing. In addition, anomalies in the distribution of living organisms seem to support the assumption of climatic change.

Most of the evidence indicates change in annual amount or seasonal distribution of rainfall, but some suggests former temperatures lower, possibly by as much as 5°C., than those of today. Few of the features discussed are well fixed stratigraphically, but most of them are probably late Pleistocene.

The atmospheric-circulation pattern shows that annual amount and seasonal distribution of rainfall differ markedly in various regions in the subcontinent. The current literature contains a start toward a reconstruction of former patterns which are compatible with the geologic and biogeographic evidence, based on analogies with modern anomalies.

Although probable, the theory that pluvial climates in Africa were contemporaneous with glacial climates in Europe remains unsupported by geologic evidence, mainly because data are very few.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.