How the Sahara became dry
In a recent Science Perspective paper, Dr Jonathan Holmes explains the transition of the Sahara from wet grassland-shrubland to a desert, and argues that the drying of the Sahara was a slow process taking hundreds of years.
In a recent Science Perspective paper (How the Sahara became dry. Science, 320, 752-753), Jonathan Holmes (Director of thein the Department) discussed the transition of North Africa from a relatively wet grassland-shrubland environment to desert, a change that took place around 6000 years ago. The paper to which the Perspective relates, led by Stefan Kröpelin from University of Cologne, argues that the drying of the Sahara was a relatively slow process taking hundreds of years. As Jonathan’s Perspective article points out, this is in accord with other geological evidence from the West African Sahel, but disagrees with some climate model simulations and with deep-sea core evidence. This work featured widely in the media recently, including the BBC World Service Science in Action programme and in the New York Times.