Informations et ressources scientifiques
sur le développement des zones arides et semi-arides

Accueil du site → Projets de développement → Projets de recherche pour le Développement → 2012 → Do humid phases in costal Libya reflect an intensified Atlantic storm track ?

UK Research and Innovations (2012)

Do humid phases in costal Libya reflect an intensified Atlantic storm track ?

Libya Humidity Atlantic

Titre : Do humid phases in costal Libya reflect an intensified Atlantic storm track ?

Pays/Région : Southern Mediterranean and North African regions (Libya)

Durée : mars 12 - mars 14

Référence projet : NE/J014133/1
Catégorie : Research Grant

Résumé partiel
Past climate change did not simply occur as a sequence of alternating warm and cool periods. Some of the most important changes caused by naturally occurring climate cycles are related to alterations to the state of circulation in the ocean and atmosphere. A good example is the extreme cooling experienced by northwest Europe as a consequence of weakening in the Gulf Stream / North Atlantic Drift system that maintains Britains relatively mild climate. A crucial concern for understanding future, man-made climate change scenarios are the physical "rules" understanding these changes in circulation. This project aims to generate new understanding of the physical mechanism underlying changes in rainfall in the southern Mediterranean and North African regions.

There is convincing evidence that large magnitude and geographically widespread increases in rainfall occurred throughout North Africa during particular periods of the Earths past. These are periods when the northern hemisphere is receiving a relatively high share of the total incoming solar energy. The additional rainfall caused formation of new lakes and rivers in regions that are now desert and changed the distribution of a range of plants and animals, including early humans. It is thought that the additional rainfall is being routed to North Africa via a northward movement of the African monsoon, but this change is difficult to simulate in climate models and does not seem to fit with all of the data. Other mechanisms therefore also need to be investigated.

This project will test whether some of the rainfall involved in greening the Sahara was derived from storms coming in from the Atlantic, rather than the African monsoon. We will do this by measuring the properties of water trapped within a stalagmite during its formation. The stalagmite we will use came from the north coast of eastern Libya, and is perfectly positioned to receive and retain water from the Atlantic storm track. The water trapped in the stalagmite is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, both of which come in two common isotopes - 1-H or 2-H and 16-O or 18-O respectively. Mediterranean water is slightly more rich in 2-H and 18-O than Atlantic water. Combined with additional measurements of 16 / 18-O ratio made on the calcite of the stalagmite itself, we therefore expect to be able to differentiate between these two sources using a simple modelling approach.

Lead Research Organisation : University of Hull

Financement : Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Budget  : £50 375

UK Research and Innovations

Page publiée le 3 septembre 2022