The role of fall season tropical plumes in enhancing Saharan rainfall during the African Humid Period
The early Holocene to mid-Holocene African Humid Period (AHP) is marked by widespread rainfall throughout the present-day arid Sahara. Here we simulate early Holocene and mid-Holocene climate with the Community Atmosphere Model version 5 to explore the role of fall season dynamics in driving Saharan rainfall during the AHP. An enhanced summer monsoon during the AHP results in abundant fall season moisture throughout tropical Africa, particularly during the mid-Holocene. During the fall, extratropical troughs advect tropical moisture toward the Sahara in the form of concentrated plumes of water vapor and extend the Saharan rainy season into October. Fall season tropical plumes contribute up to 30% of annual Saharan rainfall during the mid-Holocene. Our results suggest that tropical plumes serve as an important mechanism for enhancing Saharan rainfall during the late AHP and that further understanding of changes in tropical plumes through time may provide valuable insights into past African hydroclimate change.