Modelling Climate and Societal Resilience in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Last Millennium

Elena Xoplaki*, Jürg Luterbacher, Sebastian Wagner, Eduardo Zorita, Dominik Fleitmann, Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, Abigail M. Sargent, Sam White, Andrea Toreti, John F. Haldon, Lee Mordechai, Deniz Bozkurt, Sena Akçer-Ön, Adam Izdebski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


This article analyses high-quality hydroclimate proxy records and spatial reconstructions from the Central and Eastern Mediterranean and compares them with two Earth System Model simulations (CCSM4, MPI-ESM-P) for the Crusader period in the Levant (1095–1290 CE), the Mamluk regime in Transjordan (1260–1516 CE) and the Ottoman crisis and Celâlî Rebellion (1580–1610 CE). During the three time intervals, environmental and climatic stress tested the resilience of complex societies. We find that the multidecadal precipitation and drought variations in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean cannot be explained by external forcings (solar variations, tropical volcanism); rather they were driven by internal climate dynamics. Our research emphasises the challenges, opportunities and limitations of linking proxy records, palaeoreconstructions and model simulations to better understand how climate can affect human history.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)363-379
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).


  • CMIP5 models
  • Complex societies
  • Early modern period
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • First millennium
  • Middle Ages
  • Model/data comparison
  • Palaeoclimatology
  • Resilience


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