Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 3:25 PM
CATASTROPHIC ARID EPISODES IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN LINKED WITH THE NORTH ATLANTIC HEINRICH EVENTS
The response of continental climate to the well-documented climate oscillations during the last glacial period has been a subject of intense interest, yet much less is known about the influence on regional continental climates than in the marine or polar realms of the Earth. The detailed lake-level history of the terminal Lake Lisan (late Pleistocene Dead Sea) in the Middle East has been reconstructed from shoreline indications and high-resolution U-Th and 14C ages, thus providing data on the response of the lakes catchment area to regional and global climate changes during the corresponding period. We present a close correlation between this newly developed lake level curve for the past 55,000 yr and the North Atlantic Heinrich events. The correlation indicates a closely connected climate response between these North Atlantic events and the hydrologic conditions that prevailed in the Eastern Mediterranean. Our findings show that although the generally cooler conditions that prevailed during the last glaciation favored high levels of the lake, catastrophic events in the North Atlantic, which are associated with maximum cooling, have been responsible for droughts in the Eastern Mediterranean. We infer that cold-water input to the Mediterranean originating in the collapse of the North Atlantic Deep Water circulation reduced evaporation and possibly changed storm tracks, and, in turn, provided less precipitation in the Eastern Mediterranean.