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African Droughts In The Little Ice Age

April 27, 2014
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By Paul Homewood



Lake Malawi

Alarmists keep trying to persuade us that droughts are getting worse in Africa.

Lake Malawi, located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania, is the third largest and second deepest in Africa. It is also hugely important for fishing, and as a wildlife habitat.


From this paper by Johnson et al, we learn that the lake level was 120m lower during the arid period of AD 1570 to 1850, during the Little Ice Age.



Decadal record of climate variability spanning the past 700 yr in the Southern Tropics of East Africa



    Biogenic silica profiles in varved sediments from northern Lake Malawi (Nyasa), East Africa, span the past 700 yr and reflect past primary productivity in the overlying waters. On a centennial scale this has been influenced by lake level and a consequent shift in the location of high diatom productivity within the lake basin. Primary production was higher during the Little Ice Age, an arid period from about A.D. 1570 to 1850, when lake level was about 120 m lower than during the previous three centuries or the past 150 yr.





    There is little new here, as other studies have shown similar results in other parts of Africa. But you won’t hear any of this from the usual suspects.

    1. tom0mason permalink
      April 27, 2014 9:24 pm

      It seems to me that the tropical areas of the world would get drier as lots of water gets locked up as ice around the globe.
      I’m sure others would think that it is not that obvious.

    2. Jimbo permalink
      May 2, 2014 4:50 pm

      Here is a bit more.

      Abstract – 2006
      J.M. Russell, T.C. Johnson
      Little Ice Age drought in equatorial Africa
      …….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.
      Abstract – 2007
      James M. Russell et al
      Spatial complexity of ‘Little Ice Age’ climate in East Africa:
      sedimentary records from two crater lake basins in western Uganda
      …Variations in sedimentation and salt mineralogy of hypersaline Lake Kitagata, and a succession of fine-grained lake sediments and peat in the freshwater Lake Kibengo, suggest century-scale droughts centred on AD 0, ~1100, ~1550 and 1750. These results broadly support data from nearby Lake Edward on the timing of drought in western Uganda, but contrast with lake sediment records from eastern equatorial Africa….

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