African humid period

Holocene climate period during which northern Africa was wetter than today The Sahara was not a desert during the African humid period. Instead, most of northern Africa was covered by grass, trees, and lakes.

The African humid period (AHP, also known as the Neolithic Subpluvial, as well as by other names) is a climate period in Africa during the late Pleistocene and Holocene geologic epochs, when northern Africa was wetter than today. The covering of much of the Sahara desert by grasses, trees and lakes was caused by changes in Earth's orbit around the Sun; changes in vegetation and dust in the Sahara which strengthened the African monsoon; and increased greenhouse gases, which may imply that anthropogenic global warming could result in a shrinkage of the Sahara desert.

During the preceding last glacial maximum, the Sahara contained extensive dune fields and was mostly uninhabited. It was much larger than today, but its lakes and rivers such as Lake Victoria and the White Nile were either dry or at low levels. The humid period began about 14,600–14,500 years ago at the end of Heinrich event 1, simultaneously to the Bølling-Allerød warming. Rivers and lakes such as Lake Chad formed or expanded, glaciers grew on Mount Kilimanjaro and the Sahara retreated. Two major dry fluctuations occurred; during the Younger Dryas and the short 8.2 kiloyear event. The African humid period ended 6,000–5,000 years ago during the Piora Oscillation cold period. While some evidence points to an end 5,500 years ago, in the Sahel, Arabia and East Africa the period appears to have taken place in several steps such as the 4.2 kiloyear event.

The AHP led to a widespread settlement of the Sahara and the Arabian Deserts, and had a profound effect on African cultures, such as the birth of the Pharaonic civilization. They lived as hunter-gatherers until the agricultural revolution and domesticated cattle, goats and sheep. They left archaeological sites and artifacts such as one of the oldest ships in the world, and rock paintings such as those in the Cave of Swimmers and in the Acacus Mountains. Earlier humid periods in Africa were postulated after the discovery of these rock paint... ...read more

North African climate cycles
3 months ago

North African climate cycles ... the beginning and end of the African Humid Period suggests that both the onset and termination of the African Humid Period were abrupt. In fact both events...

Last Glacial Maximum
4 months ago

Last Glacial Maximum ... period with a return to glacial conditions around 12,900–11,700 years ago African humid period – Holocene climate period during which northern Africa...

North Africa
4 months ago

North Africa ... Wright, David (2017). "Humans as Agents in the Termination of the African Humid Period". Frontiers in Earth Science. 5: https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2017...

Tamanrasset River
3 months ago

Tamanrasset River ... Researchers believe that the ancient river became active during the African Humid Period, climate oscillations caused by the Earth’s precessional orbit around...

Early Dynastic Period (Egypt)
5 months ago

Early Dynastic Period (Egypt) ... societies along the Nile has also been linked to the end of the African humid period. Funeral practices for the peasants would have been the same as in...

Richat Structure
3 months ago

Richat Structure ... these sediments accumulated between 15,000 and 8,000 BP during the African humid period. These deposits lie directly upon deeply eroded and weathered bedrock...

Lake Turkana
4 months ago

Lake Turkana ... about 9500 years ago, at the end of the Pleistocene as part of the African humid period. It is generally theorised that Turkana was part of the upper Nile...

List of periods and events in climate history
3 months ago

List of periods and events in climate history ... in northern Europe 7,500 – 3,900 BC Neolithic Subpluvial/African humid period in North Africa, wet 7,000 – 3,000 BC Holocene climatic optimum, or Atlantic...

Interglacial
4 months ago

Interglacial ... An interglacial period (or alternatively interglacial, interglaciation) is a geological interval of warmer global average temperature lasting thousands...

Ice age
1 month ago

Ice age ... An ice age is a long period of reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental...

Lake Suguta
3 months ago
Holocene climatic optimum
3 months ago
Last Glacial Period
3 months ago
Wadi Howar
3 months ago
Lake Yoa
3 months ago
Esker
4 months ago
Lake Magadi
3 months ago
Sahara
5 months ago
Niger River
5 months ago
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