The 4.2 ka BP event in the Levant

Kaniewski, David; Marriner, Nick; Cheddadi, Rachid; Guiot, Joël; Van Campo, Elise

The 4.2 ka BP event is defined as a phase of environmental stress characterized by severe and prolonged drought of global extent. The event is recorded from the North Atlantic through Europe to Asia and has led scientists to evoke a 300-year global mega-drought. For the Mediterranean and the Near East, this abrupt climate episode radically altered precipitation, with an estimated 30 %–50 % drop in rainfall in the eastern basin. While many studies have highlighted similar trends in the northern Mediterranean (from Spain to Turkey and the northern Levant), data from northern Africa and the central-southern Levant are more nuanced, suggesting a weaker imprint of this climate shift on the environment and/or different climate patterns. Here, we critically review environmental reconstructions for the Levant and show that, while the 4.2 ka BP event also corresponds to a drier period, a different climate pattern emerges in the central-southern Levant, with two arid phases framing a wetter period, suggesting a W-shaped event. This is particularly well expressed by records from the Dead Sea area.

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Kaniewski, David / Marriner, Nick / Cheddadi, Rachid / et al: The 4.2 ka BP event in the Levant. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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