In-depth understanding of the reorganization of the hydrological cycle in response to global climate change is crucial in highly sensitive regions like the eastern Mediterranean, where water availability is a major factor for socioeconomic and political development. The sediments of Lake Lisan provide a unique record of hydroclimatic change during the last glacial to Holocene transition (ca. 24–11 ka) with its tremendous water level drop of ~ 240 m that finally led to its transition into the present hypersaline water body—the Dead Sea. Here we utilize high-resolution sedimentological analyses from the marginal terraces and deep lake to reconstruct an unprecedented seasonal record of the last millennia of Lake Lisan. Aragonite varve formation in intercalated intervals of our record demonstrates that a stepwise long-term lake level decline was interrupted by almost one millennium of rising or stable water level. Even periods of pronounced water level drops indicated by gypsum deposition were interrupted by decades of positive water budgets. Our results thus highlight that even during major climate change at the end of the last glacial, decadal to millennial periods of relatively stable or positive moisture supply occurred which could have been an important premise for human sedentism.
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