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Monday, July 27, 2015

International team of scientists finds drought, famine, and power transfer in Fertile Crescent over past 6000 years correspond to high volumes of wind driven atmospheric dust-published in Quaternary Science Reviews, 9/1/15

[Note: Scientists' original title referenced "climate variability" rather than "climate change:"  “Abrupt climate variability since the last deglaciation based on a high-resolution, multi-proxy peat record from NW Iran: The hand that rocked the Cradle of Civilization?” (paragraph 9)]

7/23/15, "Study Finds Abrupt Climate Change May Have Rocked the Cradle of Civilization," rsmas.miami.edu, press release
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“Evidence for wet early Holocene was previously found in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea region, North and East African lakes and cave deposits from Southwest Asia, and attributed to higher solar insolation during this period,“ said Ali Pourmand, assistant professor of marine geosciences at the UM Rosenstiel School, who supervised the project. “Our study, however, is the first of its kind from the interior of West Asia and unique in its resolution and multi-proxy approach.”

The Fertile Crescent, a region in west Asia that extends from Iran and the Arabian Peninsula to the eastern Mediterranean Sea and northern Egypt is one of the most climatically dynamic regions in the world and is widely considered the birthplace of early human civilizations.  “The high-resolution nature of this record afforded us the rare opportunity to examine the influence of abrupt climate change on early human societies. We see that transitions in several major civilizations across this region, as evidenced by the available historical and archeological records, coincided with episodes of high atmospheric dust; higher fluxes of dust are attributed to drier conditions across the region over the last 5,000 years,” said Arash Sharifi, Ph.D. candidate at the department of marine geosciences and the lead author of the study.



(Image caption): Climate variability during the past 5000 years as told by the concentration of titanium (Ti) in sediment core from Neor Lake, NW Iran. The vertical orange bands denote periods of dry and dusty condition, which correlate with historical records of drought and famine in Iranian Plateau, Mesopotamia and Eastern Mediterranean (brown and black horizontal bars respectively). Transition between ruling dynasties (gray arrows) in Iran and North Mesopotamia coincides with the episodes of dry and dusty condition in the region (peaks in Ti intensities). Credit: Arash Sharifi

The researchers investigated climate variability and changes in paleoenvironmental conditions during the last 13,000 years based on a high-resolution (sub-decadal to centennial) peat record from Neor Lake in Northwest Iran. Abrupt climate changes occur in the span of years to decades.

This study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation to A. Pourmand (EAR-1003639) and Elizabeth Canuel (EAR-1003529), is titled “Abrupt climate variability since the last deglaciation based on a high-resolution, multi-proxy peat record from NW Iran: The hand that rocked the Cradle of Civilization?” The paper, which will be published in the September 1 issue of the journal of Quaternary Science Review, is currently available online.

The study’s authors include: Arash Sharifi, Ali Pourmand, Larry C. Peterson, Peter K. Swart of the UM-RSMAS; Elizabeth A. Canuel, Erin Ferer-Tyler of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary; Bernhard Aichner, Sarah J. Feakins of the University of Southern California; Touraj Daryaee of the University of California, Irvine; Morteza Djamali of the institut méditerranéen de biodiversité et d'ecologie, France; Abdolmajid Naderi Beni, and Hamid A.K. Lahijani of the Iranian National Institute of Oceanography and Atmospheric Science, Iran." 

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Sept. 2015 Quaternary Science Reviews:
  • Sept. 2015, "Abrupt climate variability since the last deglaciation based on a high-resolution, multi-proxy peat record from NW Iran: The hand that rocked the Cradle of Civilization?" Quaternary Science Reviews, Arash Sharifia, b, , , Ali Pourmanda, b, Elizabeth A. Canuelc, Erin Ferer-Tylerc, Larry C. Petersonb, Bernhard Aichnerd, Sarah J. Feakinsd, Touraj Daryaeee, Morteza Djamalif, Abdolmajid Naderi Benig, Hamid A.K. Lahijanig, Peter K. Swartb
  •  "Highlights
    •A high-resolution, multi-proxy record of climate variability from NW Iran is presented.
    High dust fluxes observed during the last deglacial and mid-late Holocene.
    Low dust fluxes during early Holocene coincide with higher water availability
    *Atmospheric teleconnection between North Atlantic climate and interior of West Asia.
    •High aeolian [wind] inputs correspond with drought and famine over the last 5000 years.
    Abstract

    We present a high-resolution (sub-decadal to centennial), multi-proxy reconstruction of aeolian [wind] input and changes in palaeohydrological conditions based on a 13000 Yr record from Neor Lake's peripheral peat in NW Iran. Variations in relative abundances of refractory (Al, Zr, Ti, and Si), redox sensitive (Fe) and mobile (K and Rb) elements, total organic carbon (TOC), δ13CTOC, compound-specific leaf wax hydrogen isotopes (δD), carbon accumulation rates and dust fluxes presented here fill a large gap in the existing terrestrial paleoclimate records from the interior of West Asia. Our results suggest that a transition occurred from dry and dusty conditions during the Younger Dryas (YD) to a relatively wetter period with higher carbon accumulation rates and low aeolian [wind] input during the early Holocene (9000–6000 Yr BP). This period was followed by relatively drier and dustier conditions during middle to late Holocene, which is consistent with orbital changes in insolation that affected much of the northern hemisphere. Numerous episodes of high aeolian [wind] input spanning a few decades to millennia are prevalent during the middle to late Holocene. Wavelet analysis of variations in Ti abundances as a proxy for aeolian input revealed notable periodicities at 230, 320, and 470 years with significant periodicities centered around 820, 1550, and 3110 years over the last 13000 years. Comparison with palaeoclimate archives from West Asia, the North Atlantic and African lakes point to a teleconnection between North Atlantic climate and the interior of West Asia during the last glacial termination and the Holocene epoch. 
    ............
    We further assess the potential role of abrupt climate change on early human societies by comparing our record of palaeoclimate variability with historical, geological and archaeological archives from this region. The terrestrial record from this study confirms previous evidence from marine sediments of the Arabian Sea that suggested climate change influenced the termination of the Akkadian empire. In addition, nearly all observed episodes of enhanced dust deposition during the middle to late Holocene coincided with times of drought, famine, and power transitions across the Iranian Plateau, Mesopotamia and the eastern Mediterranean region. These findings indicate that while socio-economic factors are traditionally considered to shape ancient human societies in this region, the influence of abrupt climate change should not be underestimated."
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    7/23/15, Sciencedaily.com report: [Note scientists' original title referenced "climate variability" rather than "climate change:"  "“Abrupt climate variability since the last deglaciation based on a high-resolution, multi-proxy peat record from NW Iran: The hand that rocked the Cradle of Civilization?” (Paragraph 9)] 

    7/23/15, "Abrupt climate change may have rocked the cradle of civilization," sciencedaily.com

    "Effects of climate on human societies"
    "Summary: New research reveals that some of the earliest civilizations in the Middle East and the Fertile Crescent
    may have been affected by abrupt climate change. These findings show that while socio-economic factors were traditionally considered to shape ancient human societies in this region, the influence of abrupt climate change should not be underestimated. 
    A team of international scientists led by researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science found that during the first half of the last interglacial period known as the Holocene epoch, which began about 12,000 years ago and continues today, the Middle East most likely experienced wetter conditions in comparison with the last 6,000 years, when the conditions were drier and dustier.

    "Evidence for wet early Holocene was previously found in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea region, North and East African lakes and cave deposits from Southwest Asia, and attributed to higher solar insolation [sunlight] during this period," said Ali Pourmand, assistant professor of marine geosciences at the UM Rosenstiel School, who supervised the project. "Our study, however, is the first of its kind from the interior of West Asia and unique in its resolution and multi-proxy approach."

    The Fertile Crescent, a region in west Asia that extends from Iran and the Arabian Peninsula to the eastern Mediterranean Sea and northern Egypt is one of the most climatically dynamic regions in the world and is widely considered the birthplace of early human civilizations.

    "The high-resolution nature of this record afforded us the rare opportunity to examine the influence of abrupt climate change on early human societies. We see that transitions in several major civilizations across this region, as evidenced by the available historical and archeological records, coincided with episodes of high atmospheric dust; higher fluxes of dust are attributed to drier conditions across the region over the last 5,000 years," said Arash Sharifi, Ph.D. candidate
    at the department of marine geosciences and the lead author of the study.

    The researchers investigated climate variability and changes in paleoenvironmental conditions during the last 13,000 years based on a high-resolution (sub-decadal to centennial) peat record from Neor Lake in Northwest Iran. Abrupt climate changes occur in the span of years to decades."



    Story Source:
    The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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    Journal Reference:

    Arash Sharifi, Ali Pourmand, Elizabeth A. Canuel, Erin Ferer-Tyler, Larry C. Peterson, Bernhard Aichner, Sarah J. Feakins, Touraj Daryaee, Morteza Djamali, Abdolmajid Naderi Beni, Hamid A.K. Lahijani, Peter K. Swart. Abrupt climate variability since the last deglaciation based on a high-resolution, multi-proxy peat record from NW Iran: The hand that rocked the Cradle of Civilization? Quaternary Science Reviews, 2015; 123: 215 DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.07.006

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