A new study published in Science Magazine earlier this week suggests that an influx of greenhouse gas concentrations several thousands years ago may have contributed to the massive increase in rainfall in Africa and that, according to Environmental News Network, modern greenhouse emissions could have a similar effect on the continent’s weather.
“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,” Peter Clark, an Oregon State University paleoclimatologist and co-author of the study, said in a statement, as quoted by Nature World News.
About 14,700 years ago, period of intense rainfall in the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa began which lasted until about 5,000 years ago. The study claims that this increase in rainfall coincides with abnormally high levels of greenhouse cases in the atmosphere, according to the NCAR. This is the first time that scientists have used climate models to pinpoint a major cause of what came to be called the African Humid Period.
“The fact that the model gets it right and that we can explain it, that gives us confidence that the model can tell us about future patterns of rainfall in the region. It was the rise of greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide and methane, in the atmosphere that gave that region a common signal,” said Bette Otto-Bliesner, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder and a co-author of the study, as quoted by Bloomberg.