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Northern Hemisphere Land Monsoon Precipitation Increased by the Green Sahara During Middle Holocene
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
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Number of Authors: 92019 (English)In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, E-ISSN 1944-8007, Vol. 46, no 16, p. 9870-9879Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Changes in land cover and dust emission may significantly influence the Northern Hemisphere land monsoon precipitation (NHLMP), but observations are too short to fully evaluate their impacts. The Green Sahara during the mid-Holocene (6,000 years BP) provides an opportunity to unravel these mechanisms. Here we show that during the mid-Holocene, most of the NHLMP changes revealed by proxy data are reproduced by the Earth System model results when the Saharan vegetation cover and dust reduction are taken into consideration. The simulated NHLMP significantly increases by 33.10% under the effect of the Green Sahara. The North African monsoon precipitation increases most significantly. Additionally, the Saharan vegetation (dust reduction under vegetated Sahara) alone remotely intensifies the Asian (North American) monsoon precipitation through large-scale atmospheric circulation changes. These findings imply that future variations in land cover and dust emissions may appreciably influence the NHLMP. Plain Language Summary Northern Hemisphere land monsoon precipitation (NHLMP) provides water resources for about two thirds of the world's population, which is vital for infrastructure planning, disaster mitigation, food security, and economic development. Changes in land cover and dust emissions may significantly influence the NHLMP, but observations are too short to understand the mechanisms. The Sahara Desert was once covered by vegetation and dust emission was substantially reduced during the mid-Holocene (6,000 years BP), which provides an opportunity to test the models' capability and unravel these mechanisms. Here we use an Earth System model and find that when the Saharan vegetation and dust reduction are taken into consideration, the simulated annual mean precipitation over most of the NHLM regions shows a closer agreement with proxy records. The sensitivity experiments show that the North African monsoon precipitation increases most significantly under the regional effects of Green Sahara. The Saharan vegetation (dust reduction under vegetated Sahara) alone also remotely increases the Asian (North American) monsoon precipitation through large-scale atmospheric circulation changes. The knowledge gained from this study is critical for improved understanding of the potential impacts of the land cover and dust changes on the projected future monsoon change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 46, no 16, p. 9870-9879
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-175887DOI: 10.1029/2019GL082116ISI: 000490966700062OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-175887DiVA, id: diva2:1373458
Available from: 2019-11-27 Created: 2019-11-27 Last updated: 2019-11-27Bibliographically approved

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