Catastrophic arid episodes in the Eastern Mediterranean linked with the North Atlantic Heinrich events

Yuval Bartov*, Steven L. Goldstein, Mordechai Stein, Yehouda Enzel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

261 Scopus citations


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 Earth. The detailed lake-level history of the closed Lake Lisan (paleo-Dead Sea) in the Middle East has been reconstructed from shoreline indications and high-resolution U-Th and 14C chronologies, thus providing data on the response of the lake's catchment area to the climate changes during the corresponding period. We present a correlation between the newly developed Lake Lisan level curve for the past 55 k.y. 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 caused the reduction of evaporation and less precipitation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)439-442
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2003


  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Heinrich events
  • Lake Levels
  • Lake Lisan
  • Paleoclimate


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