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Climate in the eastern Mediterranean, and adjacent regions, during the past 6000 years - A review
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
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2011 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science, ISSN 0305-4403, E-ISSN 1095-9238, Vol. 38, no 12, 3153-3173 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The eastern Mediterranean, with its long archaeological and historical records, provides a unique opportunity to study human responses to climate variability. We review paleoclimate data and reconstructions from the region with a focus on the last 6000 years. We aim to provide an up-to-date source of information on climate variability and to outline present limitations and future opportunities. The review work is threefold: (1) literature review, (2) spatial and temporal analysis of proxy records, and (3) statistical estimation of uncertainties in present paleoclimate reconstructions (temperature, C). On a regional scale the review reveals a wetter situation from 6000 to 5400 yrs BP (note: all ages in this paper are in calibrated years before present (i.e. before 1950), abbreviated yrs BP, unless otherwise stated). This is followed by a less wet period leading up to one of fully-developed aridity from c. 4600 yrs BP. There is a need for more high-resolution paleoclimate records, in order to (i) better understand regional patterns and trends versus local climate variability and to (ii) fill the gap of data from some regions, such as the Near East, Greece and Egypt. Further, we evaluate the regional occurrence of a proposed widespread climate event at 4200 yrs BP. This proposed climate anomaly has been used to explain profound changes in human societies at different locations in the region around this time. We suggest that although aridity was widespread around 4200 yrs BP in the eastern Mediterranean region, there is not enough evidence to support the notion of a climate event with rapidly drying conditions in this region.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 38, no 12, 3153-3173 p.
Keyword [en]
Climate variability, Late Holocene, Climate event, Eastern Mediterranean, Climate reconstructions
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-74055DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2011.05.007ISI: 000297384300001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-74055DiVA: diva2:506423
Note

authorCount :5

Available from: 2012-02-28 Created: 2012-02-28 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Climate in the eastern Mediterranean during the Holocene and beyond – A Peloponnesian perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Climate in the eastern Mediterranean during the Holocene and beyond – A Peloponnesian perspective
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis contributes increased knowledge about climate variability during the late Quaternary in the eastern Mediterranean. Results from a paleoclimate review reveal that regional wetter conditions from 6000 to 5400 years BP were replaced by a less wet period from 5400 to 4600 years BP and to fully arid conditions around 4600 years BP. The data available, however, show that there is not enough evidence to support the notion of a widespread climate event with rapidly drying conditions in the region around 4200 years ago. The review further highlights the lack of paleoclimate data from the archaeologically rich Peloponnese Peninsula. This gap is addressed in this thesis by the provision of new paleoclimate records from the Peloponnese. One stalagmite from Kapsia Cave and two stalagmites from Glyfada Cave were dated and analyzed for stable oxygen (δ18O) and carbon (δ13C) isotopes. The Glyfada record covers a period from ~78 ka to ~37 ka and shows that the climate in this region responded rapidly to changes in temperatures over Greenland. During Greenland stadial (interstadial) conditions colder (warmer) and drier (wetter) conditions are reflected by depleted (enriched) δ13C-values in the speleothems. The Kapsia record covers a period from ~2900 to ~1100 years BP. A comparison between the modern stalagmite top isotopes and meteorological data shows that a main control on stalagmite δ18O is wet season precipitation amount. The δ18O record from Kapsia indicates cyclical humidity changes of close to 500 years, with rapid shifts toward wetter conditions followed by slowly developing aridity. Superimposed on this signal is a centennial signal of precipitation variability. A second speleothem from Kapsia with multiple horizons of fine sediments from past flood events intercalated with the calcite is used to develop a new, quick and non-destructive method for tracing flood events in speleothems by analyzing a thick section with an XRF core scanner.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 2014. 52 p.
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 45
Keyword
Stable isotopes, U-Th dating, stalagmites, climate variability, flooding history, eastern Mediterranean, southern Greece, Holocene, Pleistocene
National Category
Climate Research
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108046 (URN)978-91-7447-995-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-11-14, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Submitted. Paper 4: Accepted.

Available from: 2014-10-23 Created: 2014-10-07 Last updated: 2015-10-19Bibliographically approved

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