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Northern Hemisphere Land Monsoon Precipitation Increased by the Green Sahara During Middle Holocene

Journal article
Authors W. Y. Sun
B. Wang
Q. Zhang
F. S. R. Pausata
Deliang Chen
G. N. Lu
M. Yan
L. Ning
J. Liu
Published in Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 46
Issue 16
Pages 9870-9879
ISSN 0094-8276
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 9870-9879
Language en
Keywords global monsoon, summer monsoon, african monsoon, sahel rainfall, climate, termination, variability, mechanisms, eruptions, responses, Geology
Subject categories Geology


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.

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