Scientists have resolved a mysterious puzzle that had been troubling them for decades, and the result of the research was published in the journal Science. It was what caused the extremely cumulative rainfall that Africa experienced nearly 10,000 years ago after it just witnessed a particularly dry spell that lasted for years. The puzzle occurred during the period known as the African Humid Period.
The African Humid Period occurred nearly 10,000 years ago, and it came about toward the end of the last ice age. This was a period of sustained and high rainfall that lasted for years following the aforementioned dry spell in the continent. However, researchers have just discovered that greenhouse gas emission was the reason behind this mystery of increased rainfall – just as it is also behind rising temperatures today in North America and Europe.
Focusing attention the era following the last ice age – the African Humid Period – researchers discovered that the long dry spell occurred in central Africa as a result of retreating ice sheets some 21,000 years ago. But sometime within 14,700 years ago, the north of the equator and the southern region suddenly experienced torrential rainfall that lasted for so long in Africa.
In justifying the result of their study, Peter Clark, the study’s co-author states that “This study is important not only because it explains a long-standing puzzle, but it helps to validate model predictions of how rising greenhouse gas concentrations might change rainfall patterns in a highly populated and vulnerable part of the world.”
The effects of greenhouse gases like carbon-dioxide and methane rose at the period that the Earth stepped out of the ice age, and the increment in the industrial levels of gas emissions caused planet warming that necessitated the melting of ice sheets and the influx of fresh water that diluted the strengths of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation – which brings warm water that keeps Europe temperate from the tropics.
The weakening of the Atlantic current caused the long dry period, and the resultant stopping of melting ice sheets brought back the rains in large amounts over a period of time. Further research established the fact that gas emissions led to the mysterious amount of rainfall that fell in Africa, and it is indicative of what the region and other parts of the world may face in decades to come.