A new study published in the Friday edition of the journal Science has found that East Africa has been affected by the ENSO phenomenon (El Niño Southern Oscillation) known as El Niño/La Niña for more than 20,000 years.
The work, which was completed by scientists from Germany, Switzerland, the US, the Netherlands, and Belgium, studied Lake Challa, a crater lake near Mt. Kilimanjaro. According to a press release from the University of Hawaii School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), which participated in the research, the mud found at the lake's bottom shows yearly layers of sedimentation that vary in color and thickness, and "reflect ENSO behavior."
"During the cold phase of La Niña, there is marginal rainfall and stronger winds in East Africa, while the El Niño warm phase leads to weak wind conditions with frequent rain," noted a second press release, this one from the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. "Moreover, during the coldest period of the last ice age about 18 000 to 21 000 years ago, East Africa's climate was relatively stable and dry."
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