Early Holocene water budget of the Nakuru-Elmenteita basin, Central Kenya Rift

Miriam Dühnforth, Andreas G.N. Bergner, Martin H. Trauth
The Nakuru-Elmenteita basin in the Central Kenya Rift, contains two shallow, alkaline lakes, Lake Nakuru (1770 m above sea level) and Lake Elmenteita (1786 m). Ancient shorelines and lake sediments at ~1940 m suggest that these two lakes formed a single large and deep lake as a result of a wetter climate during the early Holocene. Here, we used a hydrological model to compare the precipitation-evaporation balance during the early Holocene to today. Assuming that the Nakuru-Elmenteita basin was
more » ... ydrologically closed, as it is today, the most likely climate scenario includes a 45% increase in mean-annual precipitation, a 0.5°C decrease in air temperature, and an increase of 9% in cloud coverage from the modern values. Compared to the modeling results from other East African lake basins, this dramatic increase in precipitation seems to be unrealistic. Therefore, we propose a significant flow of water from the early Holocene Lake Naivasha in the south towards the Nakuru-Elmenteita basin to compensate the extremely negative hydrological budget of this basin. Since we did not find any field evidence for a surface connection, as often proposed during the last 70 years, the hydrological deficit of the Nakuru-Elmenteita basin could have also been compensated by a subsurface water exchange.
doi:10.3929/ethz-b-000035934 fatcat:zzrazl2jm5h7xdtiuzcq44usiu