Stepwise drying of Lake Turkana at the end of the African Humid Period: a forced regression modulated by solar activity variations?
Abstract. Although the timing of the termination of the African Humid Period (AHP) is now relatively well established, the modes and controlling factors of this drying are still debated. Here, through a geomorphological approach, we characterize the regression of Lake Turkana at the end of the AHP. We show that lake level fall during this period was not continuous but rather stepwise and consisted of five episodes of rapid lake level fall separated by episodes marked by slower rates of lake level fall. Whereas the overall regressive trend reflects a decrease in regional precipitations linked to the gradual reduction in Northern Hemisphere summer insolation, itself controlled by orbital precession, we focus discussion on the origin of the five periods of accelerated lake level fall. We propose that these periods are due to temporary reductions in rainfall across the Lake Turkana area associated with repeated westward displacement of the Congo Air Boundary (CAB) during solar activity minima.