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Little Ice Age -- Africa -- Summary
Paleoclimate reconstructions clearly demonstrate a Little Ice Age influence on African climate during the 14th through 19th centuries.  One of the more pronounced features of this influence was a decline in temperatures.  Johnson et al. (2001), for example, report that colder conditions were observed between 1570 and 1820 in tropical Africa.  Huffman (1996) reports it was also colder in southern Africa between 1300 and 1800 A.D.; and according to Holmgren et al. (2001) and Tyson et al. (2000), the magnitude of this Little Ice Age cooling reached about 1C.

In addition to bringing colder temperatures, data from equatorial east Africa suggest the Little Ice Age wreaked havoc on the hydrologic cycle as well.  Nicholson and Yin (2001), for example, report widespread "drought and desiccation" accompanied by low lake levels from the late 1700s to about 1830.  "Lake Naivash," they state, "was reduced to a puddle ... Lake Chad was desiccated ... Lake Malawi was so low that local inhabitants traversed dry land where a deep lake now resides ... Lake Rukwa [was] completely desiccated ... Lake Chilwa, at its southern end, was very low and nearby Lake Chiuta almost dried up."  Similar severe drought episodes were noted for equatorial east Africa by Verschuren et al. (2000), who report on three periods of prolonged dryness (1390-1420, 1560-1625 and 1760-1840) that were "more severe than any recorded drought of the twentieth century."

With respect to the cause or causes of the Little Ice Age and its influence on African climate, Tyson et al. (2000) note that the coldest point of the Little Ice Age corresponded in time with the Maunder Minimum of sunspot activity and Verschuren et al. (2000) similarly note that "all three severe drought events [in east Africa] of the past 700 years were broadly coeval with phases of high solar radiation, and the intervening periods of increased moisture were coeval with phases of low solar radiation."  Hence, it is likely that solar radiation played an important role in African climate during the Little Ice Age.

Regardless of its cause or causes, it is important to note that the Little Ice Age was not localized to the mid- to upper-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, but that its influence was felt as far away as southern Africa in the Southern Hemisphere, contrary to the claims of climate alarmists who try desperately to convince the world otherwise in their quest to portray the putative warming of the last two decades as unprecedented and, therefore, of anthropogenic origin.

Holmgren, K., Tyson, P.D., Moberg, A. and Svanered, O.  2001.  A preliminary 3000-year regional temperature reconstruction for South Africa.  South African Journal of Science 97: 49-51.

Huffman, T.N.  1996.  Archaeological evidence for climatic change during the last 2000 years in southern Africa.  Quaternary International 33: 55-60.

Johnson, T.C., Barry, S., Chan, Y. and Wilkinson, P.  2001.  Decadal record of climate variability spanning the past 700 yr in the Southern Tropics of East Africa.  Geology 29: 83-86.

Nicholson, S.E. and Yin, X.  2001.  Rainfall conditions in equatorial East Africa during the Nineteenth Century as inferred from the record of Lake Victoria.  Climatic Change 48: 387-398.

Tyson, P.D., Karlen, W., Holmgren, K. and Heiss, G.A.  2000.  The Little Ice Age and medieval warming in South Africa.  South African Journal of Science 96: 121-126.

Verschuren, D., Laird, K.R. and Cumming, B.F.  2000.  Rainfall and drought in equatorial east Africa during the past 1,100 years.  Nature 403: 410-414.