Cycles of Drought and Floods during Past Interglacials in the East Mediterranean-Levant

Lead PI: Steven L. Goldstein

Unit Affiliation: Geochemistry, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

October 2021 - September 2022
Asia ; Europe
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Modern observations document increased drought and flooding in arid regions, such as the East Mediterranean (EM) -Levant as a consequence of warming climate, and climate models predict that such conditions will intensify in the future and impact millions of people. To better evaluate the EM-Levant climate future it is critical to achieve a sounder understanding of present-day and past wet/dry patterns, and the mechanisms that govern them. Sediment cores drilled by ICDP (International Continental Drilling Program) in the deep abyssal floor of the Dead Sea reveal in detail and high resolution chronology the hydro-climate history of the EM-Levant region including the past 3 interglacial periods. The interglacial periods were characterized by extreme aridity but also with prolonged wet conditions. We will document the mineralogical and chemical compositions the core during past interglacials and examine the impacts of global climate “engines” in the Atlantic and the tropics on the hydro-climate in the EM-Levant. A combined study using climate modeling, and along with knowledge of the detailed history of past hyperarid periods, will lead to a description of the effects of warming in the Levant, which would be useful for evaluating future climate in the region.