Researchers from several European institutions found that northern high-latitude cooling played a role in triggering the rapid termination of the African Humid Period 5500 years ago.

It is one of the driest regions of the Earth, yet, in a cave in the Egyptian Sahara, paintings have been found depicting people swimming. This stone-age art is thought to be up to ten thousand years old and falls into the so-called African Humid Period between 11 500 and 5 500 years before now. Climate scientists still puzzle about the rapidity of aridification and the climate processes that led to this. Now, a group of researchers from several European institutions found that northern high-latitude cooling played a role in triggering the rapid termination of the African Humid Period.

According to the study, appearing in Nature Communications, the temperature drop in the Arctic and in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere weakened strong winds at high altitudes over Africa, the so-called Tropical Easterly Jet.

Read more