High-resolution analyses of the Mg concentration in authigenic calcite in five cores from Lake Edward provide a water balance history of central equatorial Africa spanning the past 1400 yr. A high ratio of Mg to Ca (%Mg) indicates strong droughts in central Africa during the Little Ice Age (A.D. 1400-1750), in contrast to records from Lake Naivasha, Kenya, which suggest a wet Little Ice Age. This spatial pattern in Africa likely arose due to coupled changes in the high latitudes, the position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) system. Our results further suggest that the patterns and variability of twentieth-century rainfall in central Africa have been unusually conducive to human welfare in the context of the past 1400 yr.
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- Lake Edward
- Little Ice Age
- Medieval warm period
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