Atlantic forcing of persistent drought in West Africa

T. M. Shanahan, Jonathan Overpeck, K. J. Anchukaitis, J. W. Beck, Julia Cole, D. L. Dettman, J. A. Peck, C. A. Scholz, J. W. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

207 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although persistent drought in West Africa is well documented from the instrumental record and has been primarily attributed to changing Atlantic sea surface temperatures, little is known about the length, severity, and origin of drought before the 20th century. We combined geomorphic, isotopic, and geochemical evidence from the sediments of Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana, to reconstruct natural variability in the African monsoon over the past three millennia. We find that intervals of severe drought lasting for periods ranging from decades to centuries are characteristic of the monsoon and are linked to natural variations in Atlantic temperatures. Thus the severe drought of recent decades is not anomalous in the context of the past three millennia, indicating that the monsoon is capable of longer and more severe future droughts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-380
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume324
Issue number5925
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 17 2009

Fingerprint

Western Africa
Droughts
Ghana
Temperature
Lakes
Oceans and Seas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Shanahan, T. M., Overpeck, J., Anchukaitis, K. J., Beck, J. W., Cole, J., Dettman, D. L., ... King, J. W. (2009). Atlantic forcing of persistent drought in West Africa. Science, 324(5925), 377-380. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1166352

Atlantic forcing of persistent drought in West Africa. / Shanahan, T. M.; Overpeck, Jonathan; Anchukaitis, K. J.; Beck, J. W.; Cole, Julia; Dettman, D. L.; Peck, J. A.; Scholz, C. A.; King, J. W.

In: Science, Vol. 324, No. 5925, 17.04.2009, p. 377-380.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Shanahan, TM, Overpeck, J, Anchukaitis, KJ, Beck, JW, Cole, J, Dettman, DL, Peck, JA, Scholz, CA & King, JW 2009, 'Atlantic forcing of persistent drought in West Africa', Science, vol. 324, no. 5925, pp. 377-380. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1166352
Shanahan TM, Overpeck J, Anchukaitis KJ, Beck JW, Cole J, Dettman DL et al. Atlantic forcing of persistent drought in West Africa. Science. 2009 Apr 17;324(5925):377-380. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1166352
Shanahan, T. M. ; Overpeck, Jonathan ; Anchukaitis, K. J. ; Beck, J. W. ; Cole, Julia ; Dettman, D. L. ; Peck, J. A. ; Scholz, C. A. ; King, J. W. / Atlantic forcing of persistent drought in West Africa. In: Science. 2009 ; Vol. 324, No. 5925. pp. 377-380.
@article{18e9c8c15157463c9ba9186660640cb1,
title = "Atlantic forcing of persistent drought in West Africa",
abstract = "Although persistent drought in West Africa is well documented from the instrumental record and has been primarily attributed to changing Atlantic sea surface temperatures, little is known about the length, severity, and origin of drought before the 20th century. We combined geomorphic, isotopic, and geochemical evidence from the sediments of Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana, to reconstruct natural variability in the African monsoon over the past three millennia. We find that intervals of severe drought lasting for periods ranging from decades to centuries are characteristic of the monsoon and are linked to natural variations in Atlantic temperatures. Thus the severe drought of recent decades is not anomalous in the context of the past three millennia, indicating that the monsoon is capable of longer and more severe future droughts.",
author = "Shanahan, {T. M.} and Jonathan Overpeck and Anchukaitis, {K. J.} and Beck, {J. W.} and Julia Cole and Dettman, {D. L.} and Peck, {J. A.} and Scholz, {C. A.} and King, {J. W.}",
year = "2009",
month = "4",
day = "17",
doi = "10.1126/science.1166352",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "324",
pages = "377--380",
journal = "Science",
issn = "0036-8075",
publisher = "American Association for the Advancement of Science",
number = "5925",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Atlantic forcing of persistent drought in West Africa

AU - Shanahan, T. M.

AU - Overpeck, Jonathan

AU - Anchukaitis, K. J.

AU - Beck, J. W.

AU - Cole, Julia

AU - Dettman, D. L.

AU - Peck, J. A.

AU - Scholz, C. A.

AU - King, J. W.

PY - 2009/4/17

Y1 - 2009/4/17

N2 - Although persistent drought in West Africa is well documented from the instrumental record and has been primarily attributed to changing Atlantic sea surface temperatures, little is known about the length, severity, and origin of drought before the 20th century. We combined geomorphic, isotopic, and geochemical evidence from the sediments of Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana, to reconstruct natural variability in the African monsoon over the past three millennia. We find that intervals of severe drought lasting for periods ranging from decades to centuries are characteristic of the monsoon and are linked to natural variations in Atlantic temperatures. Thus the severe drought of recent decades is not anomalous in the context of the past three millennia, indicating that the monsoon is capable of longer and more severe future droughts.

AB - Although persistent drought in West Africa is well documented from the instrumental record and has been primarily attributed to changing Atlantic sea surface temperatures, little is known about the length, severity, and origin of drought before the 20th century. We combined geomorphic, isotopic, and geochemical evidence from the sediments of Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana, to reconstruct natural variability in the African monsoon over the past three millennia. We find that intervals of severe drought lasting for periods ranging from decades to centuries are characteristic of the monsoon and are linked to natural variations in Atlantic temperatures. Thus the severe drought of recent decades is not anomalous in the context of the past three millennia, indicating that the monsoon is capable of longer and more severe future droughts.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=65249152410&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=65249152410&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1126/science.1166352

DO - 10.1126/science.1166352

M3 - Article

C2 - 19372429

AN - SCOPUS:65249152410

VL - 324

SP - 377

EP - 380

JO - Science

JF - Science

SN - 0036-8075

IS - 5925

ER -