National PAGES - Africa

Palaeo-records of all kinds are richly represented in Africa, and are as yet largely unexploited. These include the longest record by far for the activities of human ancestors anywhere in the world. The unparalleled archaeological records, together with unique geological features such as the Rift Valley, combine to make the African palaeo-record one of the richest archives of earth system history. The continent also occupies a unique global position: between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans in the midst of the global oceanic thermo-haline conveyor belt, and spanning two hemispheres. A very wide range of habitats is represented. Therefore, the African evidence addresses the important global problems such as hemispheric phase differences, sea-levels and ocean-atmospheric heat exchange.

Palaeo-data covering the last glacial through the Holocene to present from various parts of the continent show that Africa has experienced natural, large fluctuations in climate, hydrology, and environment. For example, during the Holocene period when temperature has been more or less similar to today, several large lakes registered abrupt recessions of magnitudes far larger than any witnessed in recent times. Such substantial changes can modify the geography, hydrology, limnology and habitats of lakes, and are believed to have had major consequences for speciation and extinction (Johnson et al., 1997; Plisnier, 2002). The possibility of the occurrence of such events in the future are also issues of concern.

PAGES activities in Africa are coordinated by the PAGES-START Africa Regional Centre, located in Nairobi, Kenya. The contact person is Dr. Daniel O. Olago.

PAGES-START Africa Regional Centre
Pan African START Secretariat
Department of Geology
University of Nairobi
PO Box 30197, Nairobi, Kenya

Regional contact person:
Daniel Olago