Parth Shah

PhD Student

Shah Parth earned his BS-MS (2018) from Indian Institute of Science Education Research Mohali. His MS dissertation work mainly focuses on understanding the paleoenvironmental changes in Indian monsoon using an inorganic (elemental and grain size) and organic (amino acids and n-alkanes) analyses on archives from climatically sensitive zones in Indian subcontinent. His research interests lie in multi proxy multi archive (lacustrine, fluvial and marine) paleoclimate reconstruction with special focus on understanding the impact of climate change on different components of the ecosystem. Currently, his PhD work is aimed to develop comprehensive picture of climate variability over the Saharo-Arabian desert belt to characterize the termination of the African Humid Period (ca. 5.5 ka) and transition to arid conditions in the African domain. He has received an INSPIRE fellowship by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India. Parth likes to play basketball and cricket.


Multipurpose bldg. #130

Current research

Reconstructing the African Humid Period termination pattern in the southern margins of the Saharan and Arabian deserts

The current project aims to reconstruct in high detail the environmental and climate conditions that characterized the termination of the African Humid Period (ca. 5.5 ka) and the transition to arid conditions in the Saharo-Arabian desert belt. For this purpose, a set of reliable sedimentary archives retrieved from several lacustrine settings distributed across an E-W transect along the southern boundary of the Saharo-Arabian desert belt will be analyzed. Moreover, these sites have been chosen as their sedimentary record consists of a robust chronostratigraphic framework or have a high potential for providing accurate dating of this climate transition. It is estimated that through the spatial study of this important transition in the climate patterns in the region a better understanding of the role of northwards migrations of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and associated monsoonal fronts will be achieved.

In the context of this proposed project, the geochemical and sedimentological properties of complete and continuous sedimentary core sequences retrieved from lakes Fitri, Chad, Fati and Ghayal ba Wazir will be analyzed. The sites were selected as they are located along the southern fringe of the Saharo-Arabian desert belt and within the impact of millennial-scale latitudinal migration of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Previous studies carried out on some of the proposed lacustrine settings show the feasibility of the sites to accurately archive changes in precipitation in relation to northwards migration of the monsoons at millennial time-scales, especially during the termination of the AHP. The excellent preservation of the sediments, such as well-laminated sequences, emphasize the feasibility of the proposed project.

In the context of current climate change and increasing population pressure, lakes Chad, Fitri, Fati and Ghayal ba Wazir represent a challenge for stakeholders and policymakers, as all these sites are located in regions with high political instability and conflicts. The full availability of complete core sequences from these sites for the purposes of this study greatly facilitates the feasibility of the proposed project, thus providing high-value results at no risk. Therefore, the possibilities of success in the proposed project are high. Moreover, different options for the management of some of the lakes planned to be studied in the context of the current project were proposed and are still under debate. Therefore, a deeper understanding of their long-term hydrological variability is highly essential to satisfactorily forecast the future of the lakes and their sustainability as a resource in a warming world. A comprehensive study of these lacustrine sedimentary sequences will help to evaluate different proposed solutions and be used to define a long-term management strategies for water resources.

A) SRTM map of the northern Africa and Arabian Peninsula with the location of lacustrine settings planned to be studied within the context of the current project. Blue polygon marks the maximum extension of Lake Mega Chad during the early Holocene1. B) The Ghayal ba Wazir core sequence showing excellent laminations and the feasibility of the proposed study.