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A 10,000-year high-resolution diatom record from Pilkington Bay, Lake Victoria, East Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

J. Curt Stager
Natural Resources Division, Paul Smith’s College, Paul Smiths, NY 12970, USA
Brian F. Cumming
P.E.A.R.L., Department of Biology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6
L. David Meeker
Climate Change Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
E-mail address:


A new diatom record from Lake Victoria’s Pilkington Bay, subsampled at 21- to 25-year intervals and supported by 20 AMS dates, reveals a ∼10,000 calendar year environmental history that is supported by published diatom and pollen data from two nearby sites. With their chronologies adjusted here to account for newly documented ancient carbon effects in the lake, these three records provide a coherent, finely resolved reconstruction of Holocene climate change in equatorial East Africa. After an insolation-induced rainfall maximum ca. 8800–8300 cal yr B.P., precipitation became more seasonal and decreased abruptly ca. 8200 and 5700 yr B.P. in apparent association with northern deglaciation events. Century-scale rainfall increases occurred ca. 8500, 7000, 5800, and 4000 yr B.P. Conditions after 2700 yr B.P. were generally similar to those of today, but major droughts occurred ca. 1200–600 yr B.P. during Europe’s Medieval Warm Period.

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