Plant Wax Isotopic Records of Tropical Climate


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Plant Wax Isotopic Records of Tropical Climate

Summary

 

The hydrogen isotopic composition of fossil plant leaf wax compounds deposited in lake and ocean sediments records the isotopic composition of precipitation that the plants used to grow. In turn, the isotopes of precipitation reflect rainfall amount and source changes to infer past changes in tropical climate.

 

At right, leaf wax isotopic data show the existence of a very humid period in central and East Africa 11,000-5,000 years ago, called
the “African Humid Period.”