Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 August 2018
This paper analyses a series of high-quality continuous records from southeastern Africa to study the spatiotemporal patterning of Holocene hydroclimatic anomalies in the region. Results indicate dominant frequencies of variability at millennial time scales, and a series of anomalies broadly common to all records. Of particular interest, data from the southern Cape coast exhibit periods of wetter/drier conditions that are out of phase with the sites less than 150 km away in the adjacent interior, but in phase with sites in tropical regions over 1000 km to the northeast. To explain such spatial patterns and gradients, we propose that the Agulhas Current may be a critical vector by which tropical climatic signals are propagated along the littoral zone, exerting a dominant, highly localized influence on near-coastal environmental conditions. Limitations in the data available do not allow for a detailed examination of the climatic dynamics related to these phenomena, but this paper highlights a series of avenues for future research to clarify the spatial extent and stability of the patterns observed.
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