Kilimanjaro ice core records: evidence of holocene climate change in tropical Africa

Science. 2002 Oct 18;298(5593):589-93. doi: 10.1126/science.1073198.


Six ice cores from Kilimanjaro provide an approximately 11.7-thousand-year record of Holocene climate and environmental variability for eastern equatorial Africa, including three periods of abrupt climate change: approximately 8.3, approximately 5.2, and approximately 4 thousand years ago (ka). The latter is coincident with the "First Dark Age," the period of the greatest historically recorded drought in tropical Africa. Variable deposition of F- and Na+ during the African Humid Period suggests rapidly fluctuating lake levels between approximately 11.7 and 4 ka. Over the 20th century, the areal extent of Kilimanjaro's ice fields has decreased approximately 80%, and if current climatological conditions persist, the remaining ice fields are likely to disappear between 2015 and 2020.