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Title: Pliocene environmental change in West Africa and the onset of strong NE trade winds (ODP Sites 659 and 658)
Authors: Vallé, F
Dupont, LM
Leroy, SAG
Schefuß, E
Wefer, G
Keywords: Pollen;Pleistocene;Pliocene;NE trade winds;West Africa
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2014, 414 pp. 403 - 414
Abstract: Pliocene vegetation dynamics and climate variability in West Africa have been investigated through pollen and XRF-scanning records obtained from sediment cores of ODP Site 659 (18°N, 21°W). The comparison between total pollen accumulation rates and Ti/Ca ratios, which is strongly correlated with the dust input at the site, showed elevated aeolian transport of pollen during dusty periods. Comparison of the pollen records of ODP Site 659 and the nearby Site 658 resulted in a robust reconstruction of West African vegetation change since the Late Pliocene. Between 3.6 and 3.0 Ma the savannah in West Africa differed in composition from its modern counterpart and was richer in Asteraceae, in particular of the Tribus Cichorieae. Between 3.24 and 3.20 Ma a stable wet period is inferred from the Fe/K ratios, which could stand for a narrower and better specified mid-Pliocene (mid-Piacenzian) warm time slice. The northward extension of woodland and savannah, albeit fluctuating, was generally greater in the Pliocene. NE trade wind vigour increased intermittently around 2.7 and 2.6 Ma, and more or less permanently since 2.5 Ma, as inferred from increased pollen concentrations of trade wind indicators (Ephedra, Artemisia, Pinus). Our findings link the NE trade wind development with the intensification of the Northern Hemisphere glaciations (iNHG). Prior to the iNHG, little or no systematic relation could be found between sea surface temperatures of the North Atlantic with aridity and dust in West Africa.
Description: This article has been made available through open access by the Brunel Open Access Publishing Fund.
ISSN: 1872-616X
Appears in Collections:Brunel OA Publishing Fund
Institute for the Environment

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