Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 243–251

Solar variability and the levels of Lake Victoria, East Africa, during the last millenium


    • Natural Resources DivisionPaul Smith’s College
    • Climate Studies Center, Institute for Quaternary and Climate StudiesUniversity of Maine
  • David Ryves
    • Department of GeographyLoughborough University
  • Brian F. Cumming
    • P.E.A.R.L., Biology DepartmentQueen’s University
  • L. David Meeker
    • Climate Change Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and SpaceUniversity of New Hampshire
  • Juerg Beer
    • Swiss Federal Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG)

DOI: 10.1007/s10933-004-4227-2

Cite this article as:
Stager, J., Ryves, D., Cumming, B. et al. J Paleolimnol (2005) 33: 243. doi:10.1007/s10933-004-4227-2


A new diatom series with 1–6 year resolution from Lake Victoria, East Africa, shows that lake level minima occurred ca. 820–760, 680–660, 640–620, 370–340, and 220–150 calendar years BP. Inferred lake levels were exceptionally high during most of the ‘Little Ice Age’ (ca. 600–200 calendar years BP). Synchrony between East African high lake levels and prolonged sunspot minima during much of the last millenium may reflect solar variability’s effects on tropical rainfall, but those relationships reversed sign ca. 200 years ago. Historical records also show that Victoria lake levels rose during every peak of the ca. 11-year sunspot cycle since the late 19th century. These findings suggest that, if these apparent tropical sun–climate associations during the last millenium were real, then they were subject to abrupt sign reversals.


East AfricaDiatomsLake VictoriaPaleoclimateSolar variabilitySunspots
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Supplementary material

DO00004227.xls (32 kb)
DO00004227.xls (32 KB)

Copyright information

© Springer 2005