The remote response of the South Asian Monsoon to reduced dust emissions and Sahara greening during the middle Holocene

Francesco S. R. Pausata, Gabriele Messori, Jayoung Yun, Chetankumar A. Jalihal, Massimo A. Bollasina, Thomas M. Marchitto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Previous studies based on multiple paleoclimate archives suggested a prominent intensification of the South Asian Monsoon (SAM) during the mid-Holocene (MH, ∼6000 years before present). The main forcing that contributed to this intensification is related to changes in the Earth's orbital parameters. Nonetheless, other key factors likely played important roles, including remote changes in vegetation cover and airborne dust emission. In particular, northern Africa also experienced much wetter conditions and a more mesic landscape than today during the MH (the so-called African Humid Period), leading to a large decrease in airborne dust globally. However, most modeling studies investigating the SAM changes during the Holocene overlooked the potential impacts of the vegetation and dust emission changes that took place over northern Africa. Here, we use a set of simulations for the MH climate, in which vegetation over the Sahara and reduced dust concentrations are considered. Our results show that SAM rainfall is strongly affected by Saharan vegetation and dust concentrations, with a large increase in particular over northwestern India and a lengthening of the monsoon season. We propose that this remote influence is mediated by anomalies in Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures and may have shaped the evolution of the SAM during the termination of the African Humid Period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1271
JournalClimate of the Past
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021

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