Speleothem records decadal to multidecadal hydroclimate variations in southwestern Morocco during the last millennium

Yassine Ait Brahim, Hai Cheng, Abdelfettah Sifeddine, Jasper A. Wassenburg, Francisco W. Cruz, Myriam Khodri, Lijuan Sha, Núria Pérez-Zanón, El Hassane Beraaouz, James Apaéstegui, Jean Loup Guyot, Klaus Peter Jochum, Lhoussaine Bouchaou

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30 Scopus citations


This study presents the first well-dated high resolution stable isotope (δ18O and δ13C) and trace element (Mg and Sr) speleothem records from southwestern Morocco covering the last 1000 yrs. Our records reveal substantial decadal to multidecadal swings between dry and humid periods, consistent with regional paleorecords with prevailing dry conditions during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), wetter conditions during the second part of the Little Ice Age (LIA), and a trend towards dry conditions during the current warm period. These coherent regional climate signals suggest common climate controls. Statistical analyses indicate that the climate of southwestern Morocco remained under the combined influence of both the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) over the last millennium. Interestingly, the generally warmer MCA and colder LIA at longer multidecadal timescales probably influenced the regional climate in North Africa through the influence on Sahara Low which weakened and strengthened the mean moisture inflow from the Atlantic Ocean during the MCA and LIA respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - Oct 15 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the CLIMACTE Tripartite Cooperative Project (IRD-France/CNPq-Brazil/APGMV-Africa grant 457400/2012-9), the PRIMO: IRD-CNPq project, and the German Research Foundation (DFG; WA3532/1-1) and the strong collaboration between the Laboratory of Speleological studies at the Institute of Geoscience in the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), the Isotope Laboratory in the University of Minnesota (U.S.A.), the Institute of Global Environmental Change in Xi'an Jiaotong University (China) and the Laboratory of Applied Geology and Geo-Environment in Ibn Zohr University (Morocco). We would like to express our gratitude to the CNRST-Morocco for the scholarship awarded to Yassine Ait Brahim. We are also grateful to Augusto Auler and the Associations of Speleologists in Agadir (ASS and ASA) for their help with the field work. The authors also thank the editor and reviewers for their constructive comments which helped improving the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Atlantic Oscillation
  • Sahara Low
  • hydroclimate changes
  • last millennium
  • southwestern Morocco
  • speleothem


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