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Past River Discharge and the West African Monsoon

The intensity of the West African monsoon is directly tied to the shifting of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone and global-scale climate variability. As the West African monsoon varies through time, it affects the precipitation that occurs within the Niger River basin and the Niger River’s discharge into the eastern equatorial Atlantic Ocean. The accumulation of marine sediments on the continental slope offshore of the Niger Delta reflects these processes. We are using xs²³⁰Th-derived ²³²Th fluxes as a tracer of  the amount of fine-grained detrital material delivered from the Niger River to our sites, which, in turn, is related to high Niger River discharges and a strengthened West African Monsoon.