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Dynamic Vegetation Simulations of the Mid-Holocene Green Sahara

  • Lu Zhengyao
  • Paul Miller
  • Qiong Zhang
  • Qiang Zhang
  • David Wårlind
  • Lars Nieradzik
  • Jesper Sjolte
  • Benjamin Smith
Publishing year: 2018-08-20
Language: English
Pages: 8294-8303
Publication/Series: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 45
Issue: 16
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Abstract english

The “Green Sahara” is a period when North Africa was characterized by vegetation cover and wetlands. To qualitatively identify the orbital-climatic causation of the Green Sahara regime, we performed dynamic vegetation model (LPJ-GUESS) simulations, driven by climate forcings from coupled general circulation model (EC-Earth) simulations for the mid-Holocene, in which the vegetation is prescribed to be either modern desert or artificially vegetated with a reduced dust load. LPJ-GUESS simulates a vegetated Sahara covered by both herbaceous and woody vegetation types consistent with proxy reconstructions only in the latter scenario. Sensitivity experiments identify interactions required to capture the northward extension of vegetation. Increased precipitation is the main driver of the vegetation extent changes, and the temperature anomalies determine the plant functional types mainly through altered fire disturbance. Furthermore, the simulated vegetation composition also depends on the correct representation of soil texture in a humid environment like Green Sahara.


  • Physical Geography


  • ISSN: 1944-8007
E-mail: paul [dot] miller [at] nateko [dot] lu [dot] se

Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Lund University
Sölvegatan 12
S-223 62 Lund

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