The climate time series from the Chew Bahir Basin in southern Ethiopia shows one of the best examples of climate tipping, the transition from one stable condition to another. About 5,500 years ago, the climate of East Africa tipped from humid conditions with extensive lakes and forests to a dry climate at the end of the so-called African Humid Period.
The special feature of the time series from Ethiopia is the occurrence of pronounced precursor events, in this case 10-14 droughts, each lasting 20-80 years and with a recurrence rate of 160±40 years. Such precursor events are currently discussed as a possibility to predict future tipping points.
The time series from the Chew Bahir is one of several examples in a recent publication in the journal Nature Geoscience. Co-author is the leader of the Chew Bahir project, the paleoclimatologist apl. Prof. Dr. Martin H. Trauth from the Institute of Geosciences.
Brovkin, V., Brook, E., Williams, J., Lenton, T., Barton, M., Bathiany, S., DeConto, R., Donges, J., Ganoposki, A., McManus, J., Praetorius, S., de Vernal, A., Abe-Ouchi, A., Cheng, H., Claussen, M., Crucifix, M., Gallopin, G., Iglesias, V., Kaufman, D., Kleinen, T., Lambert, F., van der Leeuw, S., Liddy, H., Loutre, M.F., McGee, D., Rehfeld, K., Rhodes, R., Seddon, A., Trauth, M.H., Vanderveken, L., Yu, Z., 2021, Past abrupt changes, tipping points and cascading impacts in the Earth system. Nature Geoscience.